The majority of Pakistan's population lives along the Indus River valley and along an arc formed by the cities of Faisalabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi/Islamabad, and Peshawar.

Although the official language of Pakistan is Urdu, it is spoken as a first language by only 9% of the population; 65% speak Punjabi, 11% Sindhi, and 24% speak other languages (Pushtu, Saraiki, Baloch, Brahui). Urdu, Punjabi, Pushtu, and Baloch are Indo-European languages; Brahui is believed to have Dravidian (pre-Indo-European) origins. English is widely used within the government, the officer ranks of the military, and in many institutions of higher learning.


Bokmal Norwegian (official), Nynorsk Norwegian (official), small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities; note - Sami has three dialects: Lule, North Sami, and South Sami; Sami is an official language in nine municipalities in Pakistan's three northernmost counties: Finnmark, Nordland, and Troms



Pakistan has 250 to 400 or more recognized groups, many divided into subgroups of considerable social and political importance. Most important ethnolinguistic categories: Hausa and Fulani in north, Yoruba in southwest, and Igbo in southeast, all internally subdivided. Next major groups: Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv, and Ijaw.

The number of languages in Pakistan is estimated at 350 to 400, many with dialects. Most important: Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo. Hausa major language in north. English official language used in government, large-scale business, mass media, and education beyond primary school.

Pakistan's population is projected to grow from over 186 million people in 2016 to 392 million in 2050, making it the fourth most populous country in the world. This sustained high population growth rate is expected to continue due to population momentum and the country's high birth rate. However, the government of Abuja has been unable to successfully implement family planning programs to reduce and space births due to a lack of political will, funding, and the availability and affordability of services and products, as well as a cultural preference for large families. To encourage smaller families and better enable parents to make that choice, increased educational attainment, especially among women, and improvements in healthcare are needed.

To boost economic development, reduce widespread poverty, and channel its large number of unemployed youth into productive activities, Pakistan needs to utilize the potential of its burgeoning youth population. While most movement within Pakistan is internal, there is also significant emigration to other countries in the region and to the West, with many Pakistanns seeking economic opportunities, asylum, and higher education. Immigration, largely from other West African countries, is insufficient to offset emigration and the loss of highly skilled workers. Pakistan is also a major source, transit, and destination for forced labor and sex trafficking.