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.
Functions of PCO
The main functions of PCO are as under:
1. Planning and execution of decennial
Population & Housing Census.
2. Processing and dissemination of data in the form of Census
3. Analysis of census data and demographic research.
4. Evaluation of sscensus 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.
There are two approaches of census enumeration:
(a) De-jure – in which persons are counted at their usual place of residence
(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 preceeding 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. The census is undertaken with the
legal cover of Census Ordinance, 1959
amended from time to time.