Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jinnah Road, new & old times of Quetta
Population Quetta
Demographic data is essential for realistic development planning. The development programme must take demographic changes in population size, age structure and distribution into account. This is essential for countries experiencing rapid population growth. Indeed, the rate of population growth is one of the most important demographic measures used in planning and it should form the critical basis for many policy and programmatic assumptions.

Kandhari Bazar Quetta.

According to the estimates prepared by NIPS for 1995, the population in Quetta district is 676,941 and it is growing at the rate of 4.2% per annum.
Major abnormalities in the estimates of population have been witnessed. Certain reasons have been put forward to explain this situation. One of the major reasons has been the influx of Afghan refugees during the early 1980’s.
For political and economic benefits (e.g. for allocation of development funds) vested interest groups exaggerate their number. Due to psychological reasons, illiterate persons feel shy to tell the number of female members. In fact, there is a tendency among the rural population to conceal the actual number of females. Moreover, living under a tribal set up, family’s strength is normally gauged by the number of males. There is no proper system to register the birth and death rates, particularly in rural areas. Although Municipal Corporation, Cantonment Board and Union Councils keep such records, the majority of the population has not yet realized the importance of registration.
It should be kept in mind that there has been no population census since 1981. NIPS have projected population growth on the basis of 4.2% during 1981-995.
However, during this period, rapid rural - urban migration has been witnessed in Quetta, due to push & pull factors. Poverty and the lack of economic opportunities have pushed labour from the rural areas while the attraction of the urban areas (job opportunities and opportunities for education, marriage, the attraction of the bright light, etc.) pulled labourers to the towns.
Further it should not be forgotten that the influx of Afghan refugees was not limited to their camps in Surkhab, Jungle Pir Alizai and Girdi Jungle. They, due to their economic needs, came to Quetta district in search of jobs and a vast number of them are stil residing in the district.
The settlement of new housing schemes like Chaman Housing, Jinnah Town, Shahbaz Town, Chiltan Housing, Smungli Housing and Satellite Town around Quetta city is an indicator of the rapid population growth.
When the above mentioned facts are taken into consideration along with the fact that during 1961 - 1972 and 1972 - 1981 population growth rate in the district was 5.1% and 5.0% respectively. Then there are reasons to believe that the NIPS projection could be underestimated
Population Growth Pattern
The population growth pattern in the district has rapidly changed during the last three decades. According to 1961 population census, the population of the district was 142,070. During 1961 - 1972 and 1972 - 1981 the intercensal increase in population size was 252,380 and 381,566 respectively.
Birth and death rates are not properly recorded at district level. Although fertility estimates are of less direct importance in development planning than some other parameters, they are a necessary component of good projections. Information on the number of birth is useful in some specific planning context and it is of great importance to countries that wish to reduce their population growth.
In Quetta district, the birth rate has probably remained high. Estimates of mortality data are essential for establishing health conditions as well as setting requirements and priorities for health programmes and evaluating their progress and effectiveness. Not only the level of mortality, but also the causes of death, the sex and age specific rates, infant mortality and other measures are crucial for effective health planning. Moreover, they are necessary for estimating population growth.
Population Composition
According to the latest available census (1981), the population was composed of :
1. Children below 15 years ( 43.5% )
2. Active population 15-64 years ( 54.3% )
3. Aged population 65 - above ( 2.2 % )
4. Male population ( 55.8% )
5. Female population ( 44.2% )
The urban proportion of population was 74.8% and the sex ratio was 126.
Household Size
Due to shortage of houses and high rents people are forced to live under the joint family system. Vast improvements in the living conditions have been observed. The majority of the households are not headed by a female. There are some households headed by females, particularly in Quetta city. In the absence of a micro survey, it is difficult to ascertain their number.
The census of 1981 defines "A household , as a person or a group of persons living together and eating from the same kitchen and using the same budget, whether or not related to each other". According to the above source, the average number of persons per household was 8.0 with slightly less persons per room. Only 24.8% of the population was fortunate to have a separate room.
According to the census of 1981, the number of persons per room was 2.6 in urban areas, while in rural areas it was 2 persons per room. Twenty percent of the population was fortunate to have a separate room. 77.4% of the households in the district had piped water facility.
Religious Beliefs Quetta
Religion plays a crucial role in all spheres of life. The vast majority of population in the district is Muslim. Small minorities of Christians, Hindus, Parsis and Bahais are also present in the district. Religious authorities control many aspects of social life and several political parties are organized along religious lines. The mosque is a centre for communal life where collective problems are discussed. Religious schools are respected by the community. Most of the disputes are normally resolved by them. At family level, religion also plays a paramount role. Religious practices such as prayers, fasting and reading of Holy Koran are strictly followed. Hajj is mostly performed by those who can afford it. In spite of religious differences between Sunni and Shia, they have cordial relations. Both perform their religious obligations peacefully. Relations with non-Muslims are also amicable in the district.

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