The first census of Pakistan was conducted in 1951


The census organization was established in 1950 as a part and parcel of Ministry of Home Affairs and first three censuses were conducted by this organization while working under that Ministry. After 1972 Census, Census Organization was established on a permanent footing and was made an attached department of Ministry of Interior, so as to maintain expertise, experience and continuity which used to be lost after every census as was the case in 1951 and 1961. With the creation of Registration organization in 1973, as an attached department of Ministry of Interior and also headed by Census Commissioner, both the departments were merged in 1976 to be called “Census & Registration Organization”. In March 1978, the “Census & Registration Organization” was split into two separate departments and Population Census Organization was placed under the Statistics Division which remains as such thereafter due to promulgation of General Statistics (Re-organization) Act, 2011. The conduct of Census is the responsibility of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

Functions of Population Census Wing of PBS

The main functions of Population Census Wing are as under:

1. Planning and execution of decennial Population & Housing Census.
2. Processing and dissemination of data in the form of Census Reports.
3. Analysis of census data and demographic research.
4. Evaluation of census results.
5. Intercensal sample studies/surveys in related areas.
6. Supply of census data to the data users.
7. Tabulation of data to meet specific demand of data users.

History of Census

Pakistan has a long history of Census taking and the first regular Population Census in the area now comprising Pakistan was held in 1881. Since then regular censuses have been conducted after every ten years in the year ending at one. After independence, the first census of Pakistan was conducted in 1951, the second in 1961 while the third census was held in 1972 instead of 1971 due to political environment in the country and war with India. The fourth census was held in March 1981 and fifth one which was due in 1991 could be held in March, 1998 due to specific circumstances.

Census Methodology

There are two approaches of census enumeration:
(a) De-jure – in which persons are counted at their usual place of residence and
(b) De-fecto– in which persons are counted where they are found on the census data. In 1998 census both the approaches were applied simultaneously during enumeration, but the data was tabulated and published on de-jure basis for comparability of data over time.

Legality for the Census

The Census (Population & Housing) is a Federal subject as listed at Sl. NO. 38 of Federal Legislation list, Part-1, Fourth Schedule, Constitution of Pakistan. The seats in the National Assembly are allocated to each Province/FATA and Federal Territory on the basis of the population in accordance with the last preceding census officially published under Article-51(3) of the Constitution. Further, distribution of funds between the Federation and the Provinces are made through National Finance Commission. Article-160(2) speaks about the formation of the National Finance Commission which also uses census figures. The quota for recruitment to Federal posts is also worked out on the basis of population ratios as given by the census. Establishment Division’s O.M. No. 8/9/72, TRV, dated 31st August, 1973, refers in this regard. First 5 censuses were undertaken with the legal cover of Census Ordinance, 1959 amended from time to time. The 6th Population and Housing Census will be conducted under the legal cover of General Statistics (Re-organization) Act, 2011.