Background Paper on Sanitation and National Sanitation Policy

According to the Population Census 1998, Pakistan’s urban growth rate is 3.5 per cent. Its urban population has increased from 23.8 million in 1981 to 43 million in 1998, that is, from 28.3 per cent to 32.5 per cent of the total population. In the intercensal period, urban localities have increased from 415 to 501. A significant number of urban Pakistanis (49.7 per cent) live in cities of over one million. Trends indicate that in percentage terms this will increase over time. There has been a doubling of the cities having a population of between 200,000 and 500,000 and a decrease in the number of cities having population between 25,000 and 50,000.

In the urban sector, the annual housing demand is estimated at 300,000 housing units. The formal sector can supply no more than 110,000 housing units. The demand-supply gap, which is almost entirely for low income communities, is met through the development of under-serviced katchi abadis on government land or through the informal subdivision of agricultural land. These subdivisions are also under-serviced. It is estimated that 60 per cent of Pakistan’s urban populations live in katchi abadis or informal settlements.

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