The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has a population of more than 145 million people, about 95% of whom are Muslims (approximately 20% Shi'i and the rest Sunni). Although it has a few large cities such as Karachi, almost 65% of the country is still rural, with a per capita income of $408 per year. The overall literacy rate is estimated to be 41.5% but is much lower for women in many of the provinces. Pakistan has a complex culture with many ethnic groups and socioeconomic strata, but overall the society is characterized by hierarchical systems in both private and public domains. The population is religious and family centered with the “family” understood as extending beyond the nuclear; it is not uncommon to have three generations residing under one roof or within close proximity to each other and pooling their resources.
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