This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Politics of Population Counts in Pakistan

Almost exactly two months ago I noted that census-takers had been attacked in Pakistan as that country embarked on its first census since 1998. A suicide bomber blew himself up next to a van carrying census-takers and their military escort. Of course, it tells you a lot that the enumerators needed military protection in the first place. The census is complete now, in all events, and thanks to a link from Abu Daoud, we can get a glimpse of the things that might be at stake as we wait for the results. The writer is a former member of the Pakistani cabinet and a former official at the World Bank, and thus seems well-qualified to offer these thoughts:
There will be losers and winners as the seats are redistributed on the basis of the 2017 count. It is understandable that those who are embedded in the established political order prefer the status quo. Now that a census has been held, we should see a fairly significant impact on the distribution of political power in the country. To begin with, we will see greater urban participation in the legislative process at the federal as well as provincial levels.
Federal dollars in Pakistan are also distributed to provinces within the country on the basis of population count, so that is clearly an issue of importance--again there will be winners (urban areas, in particular) and losers (probably the more rural areas suffering from out-migration to cities). The author, Shahid Javed Burki, promises to keep readers of the Express Tribune informed about results as they become available. I could be wrong, but I think we'll be waiting several months for these data.




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