Internal Migration and its Impact on Big Cities

Table 2:    Population of few Big Cities

City 1998 census 1981 census CAGR % 2010
Karachi 9,339,023 5,208,132 3.49 13,386,730
Hyderabad 1,166,894 751,529 2.62 1,521,231
Lahore 5,143,495 2,952,689 3.32 7,214,954
Faisalabad 2,008,861 1,104,209 3.58 2,912,269
Peshawar 982,816 566,248 3.29 1,386,529

Source: Population Census Organization

The following indicators give an idea of migrants who moved to the big cities and the household size.

 Karachi – In-migrants: According to the 1998 census, the lifetime in-migrants to Karachi were 2,148,687 i.e. 23.34% of the total population of Karachi. Out of these immigrants, 54.07% migrated from other provinces/special areas such as KPK, FATA, Punjab, Balochistan, and Islamabad while 18.73 % belongs to Sindh province. About 2% had migrated from AJK. The average household size of Karachi city was 6.8 persons in 1998 against 6.7 in 1981, showing little change.

Hyderabad-In-migrants:  According to the 1998 census, the lifetime immigrants in Hyderabad city were 1,682,254 i.e. 14.42% of the total population of Hyderabad. Out of these immigrants, 30.23% migrated from KPK, FATA, Punjab, Balochistan, and Islamabad while 35.32 % belongs to Sindh province. 0.61% migrated from AJK. The average household size of the city was 6.6% in 1998 which was the same in 1981, showing no change.

Lahore – Internal migrants: Similarly the lifetime in-migrants to Lahore city were 897,129 which constitute 17.44% of the total population of Lahore. Out of these in-migrants, more than 70.47% came from the same province, Punjab. Of the remaining, 6.14% moved from KPK and 3.80% from Sindh. The percentage of migrants from Balochistan AJK and Northern Areas is very low i.e. 0.53%, 1.37%, and 0.7% respectively. The average household size of Lahore city according to 1998 census is 7.1 persons which have slightly increased from 7.0 people in 1981, indicating a slow pace of construction against population increase during the period 1981 to 1998.

Faisalabad – Internal migrants: The lifetime in-migrants recorded at Faisalabad city were 324,193 which constitute 16.14% of the total population of Faisalabad. Out of these in-migrants, 64.14% came from the same province, Punjab who might have moved towards the city due to the development of small industries in the area. The percentage from other provinces is 1.94% from KPK, 0.75% from AJK, and 2.70% from Sindh. The percentage of migrants from Balochistan FATA and Northern Areas is very low i.e. below 1%.  The average household size of Faisalabad city according to 1998 census is 7.3 persons which have increased from 7.0 people in 1981, indicating a slower pace of construction against population increase during the period 1981 to 1998.

Peshawar – Internal migrants: According to the 1998 census, the lifetime in-migrants recorded to Peshawar city were 126,581 which comes to 12.88% of the total population. Out of these in-migrants, 51.19% came from the same province that might have moved towards the city to seek business, employment, and better urban facilities, being the provincial capital and largest center of the province. The remaining 15.44% moved from Punjab and 13.80% from FATA. The percentage of migrants from Sindh, Balochistan, and AJK Northern Areas is very low i.e 1.17%, 0.77%, 0.55%, and 0.14% respectively. According to the sources of FBS, the Housing Sector/stock in Peshawar remained under pressure and the level of housing congestion has increased.  During the 1998 census, there were 8.3 persons per housing unit in Peshawar Metropolitan Corporation as compared to 7.4 in 1980.

Due to the unbridled growth of migration, the urban structure in major cities faces challenges and capacity constraints i.e. roads, access to health, water, education, and business opportunities and law & order, policing, and transportation which creates strain and stress on the already underdeveloped infrastructure. Some of the major impacts of internal migration on the big cities like Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, and Peshawar, having common problems, are given in the following paras.

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