The estimated population of Pakistan in 2009 was over 180,800,000 making it the world's sixth most-populous country, behind Brazil and ahead of Russia. By the year 2020, the country's population is expected to reach 220 million, owing to a relatively high growth rate.
The five largest cities in Pakistan are:
- Karachi 12,827,927
- Lahore 6,936,563
- Faisalabad 2,793,721
- Rawalpindi 1,933,933
- Multan 1,566,932
Pakistan's health indicators, health funding, and health and sanitation infrastructure are generally poor, particularly in rural areas. About 19 percent of the population is malnourished—a higher rate than the 17 percent average for developing countries—and 30 percent of children under age five are malnourished. Leading causes of sickness and death include gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, congenital abnormalities, tuberculosis, malaria, and typhoid fever. The United Nations estimates that in 2003 Pakistan's human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence rate was 0.1 percent among those 15–49, with an estimated 4,900 deaths from acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Hepatitis B and C are also rampant with approximately 3 million cases of each in the country at the moment.
According to official data, there are 127,859 doctors and 12,804 health facilities in the country to cater for over 170 million people. In 2007 there were 85 physicians for every 100,000 persons in Pakistan. Or in other words, one doctor for 1,225 people. In contrast to most countries, we a have a dearth of nurses and there are only 62,651 nurses all over the nation who are supplemented with a strong force of 96,000 Lady Health Workers (primary health care providers). According to the latest Ministry of Health Pakistan statistics, there were 13,937 health institutions in the country including 945 hospitals (with a total of 103,285 hospital beds), 4,755 dispensaries, 5,349 Basic Health Units (mostly in rural areas), 903 Mother and Child Care Centers, 562 rural health centers and 290 TB centers.
Education in Pakistan is divided into five levels: primary (grades one through five); middle (grades six through eight); high (grades nine and ten, leading to the Secondary School Certificate); intermediate (grades eleven and twelve, leading to a Higher Secondary School Certificate); and university programmes leading to graduate and advanced degrees.
Pakistan also has a parallel secondary school education system in private schools, which is based upon the curriculum set and administered by the Cambridge International Examinations, in place of government exams. Some students choose to take the O level and A level exams through the British Council.
There are currently 730 technical & vocational institutions in Pakistan. The minimum qualifications to enter male vocational institutions, is the completion of grade 8.
Pakistan also has madrassahs that provide free education and also offer free boarding and lodging to students who come mainly from the poorer strata of society. After criticism over terrorists using them for recruiting purposes, efforts have been made to regulate them.
Pakistan is the second-most populous Muslim-majority country and also has the second-largest Shi'a population in the world. About 95% of the Pakistanis are Muslim, of which nearly 75% are Sunni and 20% are Shi'a. Although the two groups of Muslims usually coexist peacefully, sectarian violence occurs sporadically.
The religious breakdown of the country is as follows:
- Islam 173,000,000 (96%) (nearly 70% are Sunni Muslims and 20% are Shi'a Muslims).
- Hinduism 3,200,000 (1.85%)
- Christianity 2,800,000 (1.6%)
- Sikhs Around 20,000 (0.001%)
- The remaining are Parsis, Ahmadi Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Bahá'ís, and Animists (mainly the Kalasha of Chitral).