Country Listing

Pakistan Table of Contents



Population: 1994 (July) estimated 129 million; annual growth rate officially estimated at 3.1 percent.

Ethnic Groups: In general percentages of population similar to linguistic groups: Punjabis 66 percent, Sindhis 13 percent, Pakhtuns 9 percent, Baloch 3 percent, muhajirs (immigrants from India and their descendants) 8 percent, and other ethnic groups 1 percent.

Language: Urdu official language, but English in general use in government, military, business, and higher education. Urdu spoken as native tongue by only 8 percent of population, Punjabi by about 48 percent, the Punjabi variant Siraiki by 10 percent, Sindhi by about 12 percent, Pakhtu or Pashto by about 8 or 9 percent, Balochi, 3 percent, Hindko, 2 percent, and Brahui, 1 percent. Native speakers of other languages, including English and Burushaski, account for 8 percent of population.

Religion: About 97 percent of Pakistanis are Muslim, 77 percent of whom are Sunnis and 20 percent Shia; remaining 3 percent of population divided equally among Christians, Hindus, and other religions.

Education and Literacy: In 1992 overall literacy rate estimated at more than 36 percent for adult population. Literacy rates substantially lower for women. In 1990 only forty-five educated women for every 100 educated men. Education organized into five levels: primary (grades one through five); middle (grades six through eight); high (grades nine and ten); intermediate (grades eleven and twelve); and university undergraduate and graduate programs. Preparatory classes (kachi, or nursery) formally incorporated into the system in 1988.

Health and Welfare: Substandard housing, inadequate sanitation and water supply, and widespread malnutrition contribute to spread of disease and to high infant, childhood, and maternal mortality. Leading causes of death gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, congenital abnormalities, tuberculosis, malaria, and typhoid fever.

Data as of April 1994