Housing and Physical Planning


1. Pakistan’s Housing Needs

1.1 Natural Growth Needs

Pakistan’s population grows at the rate of 3 percent per year; 4.4 percent in the urban and 2.6 percent in the rural areas. In 1985, 30.1 percent of the country’s population lived in urban areas. In 1991, 35 percent will be living in the urban areas. This means that during this period approximately 250,000 new houses will be required per year in the urban sector and approximately 275,000 in the rural sector, if the average household size is taken as 6. Almost 65 percent of this requirement is for the lower income groups.

1.2 Migratory Needs

Of the 525,000 housing units required every year due to population growth, about 20 percent are for migrants from rural to urban areas. About 50 percent of this migration takes place within the Punjab and almost all of it to the province’s intermediate cities of Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Gujrat and smaller market towns like Sahiwal and Okara. Almost 90 percent of this need is for the lower income groups.

1.3 Backlog

The backlog calculated by the Sixth Five Year Plan (1983-88) was 1.4 million housing units, both for urban and rural areas. If this is to be removed over a period of 10 years, and provided the population increase needs are met yearly, then an additional 140,000 housing units will be required to be built every year 1.

1.4 Replacement

The total number of units that need to be replaced yearly have been worked out at 50,000 per year (or 1 percent of the total urban stock of about 500,000) for urban areas and 135,000 per year (or 1.5 percent of the total rural stock) for rural areas. In addition, it is estimated that about 25,000 substandard units a year would also need to be replaced in the rural areas 2.

1.5 The Housing Demand per Year

The total annual housing demand in Pakistan works out to about 875,000 units. The details are given in Table – 1 below:

Table – 1: Housing Demand per Year




Backlog Growth


















2. Housing Conditions in Pakistan

2.1 Population growth and housing stock

The only detailed housing statistics available are for the period between 1961 and 1981. During this period Pakistan’s urban population increased by 4.7 percent per year while the housing stock grew by 3.7 percent per year. Indications are that this trend has continued3.

Although the statistics in the above paragraph suggest an increasing housing shortage, the growth rate of households has been lower than the growth rate of population. This is because the average household size increased from 5.5 to 6.5 persons between 1961 and 1981. During this period the number of households increased by 2.86 percent a year against a population increase of 3.75 percent4.

2.2 Persons per room

Persons per room increased from 3.3 to 3.5 between 1961 and 1981, whereas the rooms per housing unit increased from 1.7 to 1.9 percent during the same period. However, 45 percent of the population of urban Sindh and 50 percent of urban Punjab live in one room houses. An additional 31 percent of urban Sindh and 32 percent of urban Punjab live in 2 room houses 5.

2.3 Tenure status

The number of persons living in their own houses, as owners and/or squatters has been on the increase in Pakistan. The 1980 housing census results and all subsequent surveys support these findings. In 1980, 68 percent of urban houses were owned by the households living in them as opposed to 48 percent in 1961. In rural areas this figure increased from 80 percent to 83 percent during the same period.

2.4 Utilities

About 35 percent of the population of Pakistan has access to electricity, and over two-third of this lives in the urban areas. In addition, only 53 percent of the population (80 percent in urban and about 40 percent in rural areas) have access to safe drinking water. Sanitation facilities are available only to 25 percent of the population (52 percent in urban and 10 percent in rural areas) 6. Targets set for increasing the coverage ‘of utilities have only marginally been achieved, and that to only in developing piped water schemes.

The operation and maintenance (0&M) of utilities also poses a major problem due to financial, managerial and technical constraints. These can be judged by the fact that the current 0&M requirement for rural water supply alone in the country is Rs 215 million per year. Total allocation for this activity, however, is only Rs 70 million. The deficit is met by reducing 0&M requirements. In this sector alone, it is estimated, 0&M requirements will increase to Rs 600 million in 1993 7.

  1. Sixth Five Year Plan Document: GOP
  2. Shelter for Low Income Communities Inception Report: World Bank, 1991
  3. Housing Census, 1980: GOP
  4. Ibid
  5. Shelter Sector Review: World Bank, 1988
  6. Seventh Five Year Plan Document: GOP
  7. Shelter Sector Review: World Bank, 1988

One Comment

  1. Salam .dear we have no basic facilities in housning colonies plz think about us plz plz

    Posted January 1, 2020 at 9:09 am | PermalinkReply

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