Politics of Karachi’s population

  • Karachi is by far the most densely populated city in Pakistan
  • Karachi experienced an unparalleled trajectory of population growth over a 100 year period leading to it being called ‘Instant City’ (see Steve Inskeep) and the fastest grown city on the planet, even surpassing Dubai.

While the official census of Pakistan in 2019 put the population of Karachi at 14.9 million (which I personally believe is flawed), you get to hear Karachi-walas boast about its population from 20 million to 40 million or even more.

World’s biggest cities and their population density

The population density of Karachi at 5000 people per square kilometer (at 30 million population and a generous 5000 sq meter area) is almost the double of Shanghai — the second city on the list!

  • According to Inspector General Mushtaq Mehar (source), approximately 65 percent of the Karachi population lives in a slums — they are ofcourse not high rises.
  • The Global Patterns of Urbanisation report (see bottom) from 2015 named Karachi has one of the top cities in the world with highest slum population with 10+ million documented citizens living there.
  • Widely cited as Asia’s largest slum, Orangi Town alone is believed to be home to around 2.4 million people according to the report although the exact figure remains unknown — then, there are parts of Machar Colony and Lyari Town to be considered.
  • Arif Hasan’s report The Case for Karachi also mentions that according to unofficial estimates, there are 702 katchi abadis in Karachi — ofcourse not high rises.
  • And finally, in the data presented above you will see some numbers on high rises — existing and in construction in all cities including Karachi. A cursory look at aerial images of these cities will reveal that Karachi is a low lying cities with absolutely no comparison to cities like Tokyo or Shanghai, the landscapes of which are fully dotted with high rises with buildings anywhere from 100 meter to even 800 meteres high. Karachi has a single building above 150 meters and has none under construction. The percentage land mass of Karachi which is covered with high-rises is negligible in comparison to other global cities.
Karachi’s slum population




blogger, technologist, foodie, vagabond, avid reader, cricket-lover, and an activist focused on human rights and the case for the environment.

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Ale Natiq (Ali Mashhadi)

Ale Natiq (Ali Mashhadi)

blogger, technologist, foodie, vagabond, avid reader, cricket-lover, and an activist focused on human rights and the case for the environment.

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