One of the more disquieting statistics discovered from the survey was regarding the life expectancy drops in Pakistan.
A survey released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics has unveiled some important revelations on Pakistan’s demographic data for the years 2018-2020. The report, titled the Pakistan Demographic Survey (PDS), 2020, is the twentieth round of a series of surveys and provides detailed information on various demographic indicators for the year 2018-2020 at a national level with urban-rural breakdowns.
One of the more disquieting statistics discovered from the survey was regarding the life expectancy of Pakistan. As per the PDS, life expectancy has dropped to 65 years from 65.4. While the drop, of 0.4 years, may seem small, any decrease in life expectancy, at a time when modern medicine and technology have raised global life expectancy to new heights, should be a cause of concern for the government of Pakistan. The global life expectancy stands at 73 years, more than eight years of the average life expectancy in Pakistan.
The drop in this key statistic must be looked into by the government and experts. There is no doubt that climate change has played a part—a study conducted by the University of Chicago found that residents of South Asia lose an estimated five years of life as a result of smog. More than 97 percent of the global population lives in areas where air pollution exceeds recommended levels, with Delhi and Lahore coming in the list of cities with the worst air quality. However, it must also be noted with grief that the current life expectancy for Pakistan is less than its neighbours in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The figures, therefore, indicate that this goes beyond climate change, and our poor infrastructure and weak policy planning are partly accountable. The overall attitudes towards health and human rights are key enablers in building societies that thrive amid demographic changes. Across Pakistan, there are stark differences in people’s lifespans, access to healthcare, rights and quality of life. Issues like climate change and unequal access to healthcare disproportionately impact the most vulnerable, e.g. people in rural areas have lower life expectancy than residents in urban areas. These are all indicators that the government must pay attention to.
Originally published at The Nation