Population outburst calls for serious family planning

Impact of Census on Family Planning

Amanullah Khan

Karachi

Population censuses are conducted to assist the government, businesses and others to take stock of the socio-economic health of the nation. Data collected by conducting this exercise is used by government, demographers and economists to plan the future socio-economic needs of the country and to do better and more accurate forecasting and planning to meet the growing requirements.
It’s estimated that the population of Pakistan represents 2.56 percent of the world population which arguably means that one person in every 39 people on the planet is a Pakistani which points to the dire need of family planning services in the country. Taking the census is now more of a function of convenience than obligation. Census data should not be limited to being just a head count but should collect important demographic data as well.
It’s this important portion of the data that is vitally needed to plan the future of the country. For example, employment, education, basic health, socio-economic conditions, growth and decline of various communities, family planning awareness and other key factors can be covered by conducting an all comprising population census. DKT Pakistan is seriously working towards increasing family planning awareness, in a culturally acceptable manner, across the country, often in far flung areas where government bodies don’t reach. 65% of Pakistan’s population is based in these rural areas and one can only expect that after the upcoming census this percentage will go higher.
Circulation of concrete data will also help family planning organizations such as DKT Pakistan better plan for the coming years. The more data that’s collected during this exercise the better will analysts be equipped to plan for future needs of Pakistan. Circulation of concrete data will also help family planning organizations such as DKT Pakistan better plan for the coming years. The data that will be left out of the picture includes district of birth, previous district of residence, duration of residence at present location, educational attainment and information related to fertility.
Whereas a census can be narrowly conceived as nothing more than a head count, along with rudimentary data on mother tongue, literacy and nationality, the inclusion of the kind of questions which will not be asked would have made the exercise more meaningful — especially if the data collected is to be used for calculating population growth rates or migration trends in the country. Having such information would have allowed DKT Pakistan to map out the areas where family planning services are required giving them the chance to further map out their services.
Census data should be available to all agencies and businesses to assist them in forecasting and planning future requirements of Pakistan. For example, the government has stated that the energy crisis will end in 2018.
But does this mean that the current energy needs will be met? What plans does the government have for meeting the future growing energy needs especially if the population keeps growing? Without a properly conducted census the government will not be in a position to estimate future needs as family planning bodies will be unable to fully understand the scale at which they need to provide services to the people.
This is just a single example in which the census data can play an important role in future planning. Lastly the census data should be collected and digitized without any political or external interference. Secondly, it should be available on Statistics Department’s website. Only then will it be a true reflection of Pakistan’s current and accurate population on which future family planning for the development and growth of Pakistan can be conducted.

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