Read this comprehensive essay to learn about the 1. Definition of Population, 2. Aspects of Population in India, 3. Age and Sex Structure, 4. Sex Ratio in India and Its Determinants, 5. Growth Rate of Population in India, 6. Factors Contributing to the High Growth Rate of Population, 7. Population Projection in India (2001-2026), 8. Population Projection in India by 2050.
Essay on Population in India
India like most countries of the world, has evolved from conditions of high mortality due to famines, accidents, illness, infections, and war and from the time when high levels of fertility was essential for survival of offspring. Over the years, enhancement in areas of diseases prevention, cure and vagaries of nature, and better care for women and infants, it has witnessed significant increase in life expectancy along with a steep fall in mortality.
Essay # 1. Definition of Population:
Population is defined as the total number of individuals of a species in a specific geographical area; can interbreed under natural conditions to produce fertile offsprings and functions as a unit of biotic community.
Similar populations of a species occupying different geographical areas are called sister populations of a species e.g., all the frogs (Rana tigrina), water hyacinth (Eichhornia—an aquatic weed) plants found in a pond and individuals of the common grass, Cyanodon dactylon, in a given area form the populations of frog, water hyacinth and common grass respectively of that pond.
The frogs (Rana tigrina) found in different ponds form the local populations and are sister populations of one another. A local population may be occupying a very-small sized area e.g., a temporary pool of water. Other examples of populations are all the cormorants in a wetland, rats in an abandoned dwelling, teak wood trees in a forest tract, Paramecia in a culture tube, mosquito fish in a pond, etc.
In a geographical area, the population is further divisible into sub-groups called demes. The individuals of a population are capable of interbreeding among themselves. The chances of this sexual communication are more between the members of same deme than between the members of different demes of that population which are further reduced between the members of sister-populations. Due to this mating ability, there is free flow of genes in a species.
Essay # 2. Aspects of Population in India:
Size and Growth:
The current population of India is 1,342,528,871 (1.34 billion) people and it is the second most populous country in the world, while China is on the top with over 1,415,489,506 (1.41 billion) people. Out of the world’s 7 billion people, India represents almost 17.85% of the world’s population. It is predicted that India will beat China to become the highest populous country by 2030. With the population growth rate at 1.2%, India is predicted to have more than 1.53 billion people by the end of 2030.
More than 50% of India’s current population is below the age of 25 and over 65% below the age of 35. About 72.2% of the population lives in some 638,000 villages and the rest 27.8% in about 5,480 towns and urban agglomerations. The birth rate (child births per 1,000 people per year) is 22.22 births/1,000 population while death rate (deaths per 1000 individuals per year) is 6.4 deaths/1,000 population. Fertility rate is 2.72 children born/woman and infant mortality rate is 30.15 deaths/1,000 live births.
India has the largest illiterate population in the world. The literacy rate of India as per 2011 Population Census is 74.04%, with male literacy rate at 82.14% and female at 65.46%. Kerala has the highest literacy rate at 93.9%, Lakshadweep (92.3%) is on the second position, and Mizoram (91.6%) is on third. The population of a state like Uttar Pradesh is almost equal to the population of Brazil. It has, as per 2001 Population Census of India, 190 million people and the growth rate is 16.16%. The population of the second most populous state Maharashtra, which has a growth rate of 9.42%, is equal to that of Mexico’s population.
Bihar, with 8.07%, is the third most populous state in India and its population is more than Germany’s. West Bengal with 7.79% growth rate, Andhra Pradesh (7.41%), and Tamil Nadu (6.07%) are at fourth, fifth, and sixth positions respectively. The sex ratio of India stands at 940. Kerala with 1058 females per 1000 males is the state with the highest female sex ratio. Pondicherry (1001) is second, while Chhattisgarh (990) and Tamil Nadu (986) are at third and fourth places respectively. Haryana with 861 has the lowest female sex ratio.
Determinants of Population Change:
The main causes which are generally identified for the high population in India are listed here:
(a) The Birth Rate is still Higher than the Death Rate:
India has been successful in declining the death rate. On the other hand, it has not been able to control the high birth rates. The fertility rate due to the population policies and other measures has been falling, still it is much higher compared to other countries. Various social causes are at the root of overpopulation in India.
(b) Early Marriage and Universal Marriage System:
Though legally the marriageable age of a girl is 18 years, the concept of early marriage still prevails and getting married at a young age prolongs the child bearing age. Also, in India, marriage and child bearing are sacrosanct obligations and a universal practice, and almost every woman is married at the reproductive age.
(c) Poverty and Illiteracy:
Underprivileged families have a presumption that more the number of members in the family, more will be the hands to earn income. Some feel that more children are needed to look after them in their old age. Also, malnutrition can be the cause of death of their children and hence the need for more children. Many parts of India still lag behind the use of contraceptives and birth control methods. Many of them are not willing to discuss or are totally unaware about them.
(d) Age Old Cultural Norm:
Sons are believed to be the bread earners, the carriers of lineage, and the source of salvation for their parents. Many families give birth to multiple children in the hope of a male child.
(e) Illegal Migration:
Finally, the fact that illegal migration is continuously taking place from lesser developed neighbouring countries is leading to increased population density.
Implications of the Size and Growth of Population:
The impact of overpopulation is varied and has far reaching consequences in many areas of life.
Overpopulation causes massive ecological damage by the wasteful, unnecessary, and unbalanced consumption and exploitation of nature. The review on “Promotion of Sustainable Development- Challenges for Environmental Policies” in the Economic Survey 1998-99 had covered in detail the major environmental problems and policy options for improvement.
According to this review, in many developing countries, continued population growth has resulted in pressure on land, fragmentation of land holding, collapsing fisheries, shrinking forests, rising temperatures, and loss of plant and animal species. Global warming due to increasing use of fossil fuels (mainly by the developed countries) could have serious effects on the populous coastal regions in developing countries, their food production, and essential water supplies.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has projected that, if current greenhouse gas emission trends continue, the mean global surface temperature will rise from 1 to 3.5 degrees Celsius in the next century. The panel’s best estimate scenario projects a sea- level rise of 15 to 95 cms by 2100. The ecological impact of rising oceans would include increased flooding, coastal erosion, salination of aquifers, and coastal crop land and displacement of millions of people living near the coast. Patterns of precipitation are also likely to change, which combined with increased average temperatures, could substantially alter the relative agricultural productivity of different regions. Greenhouse gas emissions are closely linked to both population growth and development. Slower population growth in developing countries and ecologically sustainable lifestyles in developed countries would make reduction in greenhouse gas emission easier to achieve and provide more time and options for adaptation to climate change. Rapid population growth, developmental activities either to meet the growing population or the growing needs of the population, as well as changing lifestyles and consumption patterns pose major challenge to preservation and promotion of ecological balance in India.
Some of the major ecological adverse effects reported in India include:
1. Severe pressure on the forests, due to both the rate and the nature of resources used. The per capita forest biomass in the country is only about 6 tons as against the global average of 82 tons.
2. Adverse effect on species diversity.
3. Conversion of habitat to land use such as agriculture, urban development, and forestry operation. Some 70-80% of fresh water marshes and lakes in the Gangetic flood plains have been lost in the last 50 years.
4. Tropical deforestation and destruction of mangroves for commercial needs and fuel wood. The country’s mangrove areas have reduced from 700,000 ha to 453,000 ha in the last 50 years.
5. Intense grazing by domestic livestock.
6. Poaching and illegal harvesting of wildlife.
7. Increase in agricultural area, high use of chemical fertilizers pesticides and weedicides, water stagnation, soil erosion, soil salinity, and low productivity.
8. High level of biomass burning causing large-scale indoor pollution.
9. Encroachment on habitat for rail and road construction, thereby fragmenting the habitat.
10. Increase in commercial activities such as mining and unsustainable resource extraction.
11. Degradation of coastal and other aquatic ecosystems from domestic sewage, pesticides, fertilizers, and industrial effluents.
12. Over fishing in water bodies and introduction of weeds and exotic species.
13. Diversion of water for domestic, industrial, and agricultural uses leading to increased river pollution and decrease in self-cleaning properties of rivers.
14. Increasing water requirement leading to tapping deeper aquifers which have high content of arsenic or fluoride resulting in health problems.
15. Disturbance from increased recreational activity and tourism causing pollution of natural ecosystems with wastes left behind by people.
The proportion of people in developing countries who live in cities has almost doubled since 1960 (from less than 22% to more than 40%), while in more developed regions the urban share has grown from 61% to 76%. Urbanisation is projected to continue well into the next century. By 2030, it is expected that nearly 5 billion (61%) of the world’s 8.1 billion people will live in cities. India is also a part of this global trend.
India’s urban population has doubled from 109 million to 218 million during the last two decades. As a consequence, cities are facing the problem of expanding urban slums. Cities and towns have become the location of social change and rapid economic development. Urbanisation is associated with improved access to education, employment, and health care; these result in increase in age at marriage, reduction in family size, and improvement in health indices.
As people have moved towards and into cities, information has flowed outward. Better communication and transportation now link urban and rural areas both economically and socially creating an urban-rural continuum of communities with improvement in some aspects of lifestyle of both. The ever increasing reach of mass media has made information readily available. This phenomenon has affected health care, including reproductive health, in many ways.
For instance, radio and television programmes that discuss gender equity, family size preference, and family planning options are now reaching formerly isolated rural populations. This can create awareness for services for mothers and children, higher contraceptive use, fewer unwanted pregnancies, smaller healthier families, and lead to more rapid population stabilisation.
However, the rapid growth of urban population also poses some serious challenges. Urban population growth has outpaced the development of basic minimum services— housing, water supply, sewerage, and solid waste disposal; increasing waste generation at home, offices, and industries, coupled with poor waste disposal facilities result in rapid environmental deterioration. Increasing automobiles add to air pollution. All these have adverse effect on ecology and health. Poverty persists in urban and peri-urban areas; awareness about the glaring inequities in close urban setting may lead to social unrest.
Rural Population and Their Development:
Over 70% of India’s population still lives in rural areas. There are substantial differences between the states in the proportion of rural and urban population (varying from almost 90% in Assam and Bihar to 61% in Maharashtra). Agriculture is the largest and one of the most important sectors of the rural economy and contributes both to economic growth and employment.
Its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product has declined over the last five decades but agriculture still remains the source of livelihood for over 70% of the country’s population. A large proportion of the rural workforce is small and consists of marginal farmers and landless agricultural labourers. There is substantial under employment among these people; both wages and productivity are low. These in turn result in poverty; it is estimated that 320 million people are still living below the poverty line in rural India.
Though poverty has declined over the last three decades, the number of rural poor has in fact increased due to the population growth. Poor tend to have larger families which puts enormous burden on their meagre resources, and prevent them from breaking out of the shackles of poverty. In States like Tamil Nadu where replacement level of fertility has been attained, population growth rates are much lower than in many other States; but the population density is high and so there is a pressure on land.
In States like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh, population is growing rapidly, resulting in increasing pressure on land and resulting in land fragmentation. Low productivity of small land holders leads to poverty, low energy intake, and under nutrition, and this, in turn, prevents the development, thus, creating a vicious circle. In most of the states, non-farm employment in rural areas has not grown very much and cannot absorb the growing labour force. Those who are getting educated specially beyond the primary level, may not wish to do manual agricultural work.
They would like better opportunities and more remunerative employment. In this context, it is imperative that programmes for skill development, vocational training, and technical education are taken up on a large scale in order to generate productive employment in rural areas. The entire gamut of existing poverty alleviation and employment generation programmes may have to be restructured to meet the newly emerging types of demand for employment.
Rural poor have inadequate access to basic minimum services, because of poor connectivity, lack of awareness, and inadequate and poorly functional infrastructure. There are ongoing efforts to improve these, but with the growing aspirations of the younger, educated population, these efforts may prove to be inadequate to meet the increasing needs both in terms of type and quality of services.
Greater education, awareness, and better standard of living among the growing younger age group population would create the required consciousness among them that smaller families are desirable; if all the felt needs for health and family welfare services are fully met, it will be possible to enable them to attain their reproductive goals, achieve substantial decline in the family size, and improve quality of life.
In many parts of developed and developing world, water demand substantially exceeds sustainable water supply. It is estimated that currently 430 millions (8% of the global population) are living in countries affected by water stress; by 2020, about one-fourth of the global population may be facing chronic and recurring shortage of fresh water.
In India, water withdrawal is estimated to be twice the rate of aquifer recharge; as a result water tables are falling by one to three meters every year; tapping deeper aquifers have resulted in larger population groups being exposed to newer health hazards such as high fluoride or arsenic content in drinking water. At the other end of the spectrum, excessive use of water has led to water logging and increasing salinity in some parts of the country.
Eventually, both lack of water and water logging could have adverse impact on India’s food production. There is very little arable agricultural land which remains unexploited and in many areas, agricultural technology improvement may not be able to ensure further increase in yield per hectare. It is, therefore, imperative that research in biotechnology for improving development of food grain strains that would tolerate salinity and those which would require less water gets high priority.
Simultaneously, a movement towards making water harvesting, storage, and its need based use part of every citizens life should be taken up.
Technological innovations in agriculture and increase in area under cultivation have ensured that so far, food production has kept pace with the population growth. Evolution of global and national food security systems has improved access to food. It is estimated that the global population will grow to 9 billion by 2050 and the food production will double; improvement in purchasing power and changing dietary habits (shift to animal products) may further add to the requirement of food grains.
Thus, in the next five decades, the food and nutrition security could become critical in many parts of the world, especially in the developing countries and pockets of poverty in the developed countries.
Levels and Trends of Fertility in India:
Recent data suggest a clear decline in fertility throughout the country, including in the large north Indian states (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan), where since 1971, TFR has declined by 27-28%. Elsewhere, fertility decline has been faster. Compared to rural fertility, urban fertility has declined at a faster pace. The urban TFR has dropped to 2.1 or to a replacement level or less in urban areas of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, and West Bengal.
However, we need to be concerned not just with the level of fertility but with the total size of the population or its annual growth. Therefore, we can take little comfort from the observed decline in the TFR, and must recognize the fact that the annual increase in the total population of the country is likely to exceed about 18 million, higher than in China and equal to the total population of several countries.
However, if the success of the family planning programme is neutralised by the success of the health policies, it is certainly not fair to label the former as a failure. The results of knowledge, attitudes, and practice (KAP) surveys indicating a widespread desire to regulate the size of the family induced an excessive faith in what the supply of services by female health workers or the auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) might achieve.
Levels and Trends of Mortality in India:
The infant mortality rate (IMR) of around 200-225 per 1000 live-births at the time of India’s independence in 1947 has declined to about 40 per 1000 births today. Admittedly, even this figure far exceeds the IMR in China, which has now declined to around 30. Within India, only Kerala, with about 93% of births occurring in institutions and another 6% attended by trained birth attendants, has achieved an even lower IMR of 17.
Elsewhere, the IMR ranges between low 50s in Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra, and high values between 85 and 98 in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Orissa. Obviously, there is substantial scope and need for a further decline in the present high IMR.
The interstate differentials are evident in life expectancy as well, which in India has risen from about 32 years in the 1940s to nearly 66, 21 years during 2012. The figure for Kerala exceeded 73 years, and Punjab was second with 67 years, whereas Assam and Madhya Pradesh reported nearly 18 years lower than Kerala’s life expectancy.
The slow mortality decline may partly be attributed to the fact that the universal programme of immunisation was initiated only in the mid-1970s. It now covers the entire country but even during 1995-96, 33% of the rural children aged 0-4 had not received BCG and 56 and 45% of the rural children had not received oral polio vaccine and the DPT doses.
There has been some controversy in India that the programme has led to a certain imbalance in the allocation of funds. Critics argue that as a result, the much-needed effort to eliminate malnutrition and to minimise the number and proportion of low birth-weight babies has not received the requisite attention.
Implications of the Levels of Mortality:
There is no doubt that a reduction in the level of infant, child, and maternal mortality and an improvement in the availability of prenatal, natal, and postnatal care would help to lower the ‘high wanted fertility’ or the number of living children desired by couples. Unfortunately, the rural infrastructure is so weak that even today only about 30% of all villages had an all-weather approach road.
The possible efforts of pregnant women to access the health care system to meet crisis situations are frustrated by the inadequacies of road transport and communication, which also discourages the teachers of rural schools to attend to their duties. According to the 1991 Census, 65% of Indian villages had a population of less than 1000 persons and 42 had less than 500 persons each.
The average population of a village in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the two states with a below replacement level of fertility, was 15476 and 2325, much higher than the national average of 1061. The size class of population of a village is an excellent indicator of the size of the rural market, the extent of diversification of economic activities of the population, and also the level of development. The road network integrates villages into the mainstream of the economy and increases the options to access social and economic opportunities and services in the rest of the country.
According to the broad experience of the fertility transition that has occurred in developed countries as well as in the newly industrialised economies of Southeast and East Asia, it is modernisation or westernisation that helps to lower the traditionally high levels of fertility. The process includes high levels (exceeding 75%) of literacy, urbanisation, and industrialisation, and a rise in the status of women. Some recent reviews of the subject have added to these variables the spread of communications and transport as key factors influencing fertility decline.
Implications of the Levels of Fertility:
In an analysis of change in the level of fertility between 1970-72 and 1989-91, the various socio-economic variables (female literacy, urbanisation, infant mortality, percentage of male workers engaged in non-farm activities) in the 16 major states showed no statistically significant association, except for female literacy. However, the values for Kerala seem to contribute a great deal to the association.
Otherwise, one essentially observes two clusters of states. One of the clusters includes the four large North Indian states (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh) with both a high TFR and low female literacy and the second cluster having moderate levels of both TFR and female literacy.
The sharp decline in the level of fertility in Tamil Nadu without anything like the high level of literacy and low levels of infant and child mortality observed in Kerala, attests to the difficulty of identifying preconditions for fertility decline. Fertility has declined by more than 50% and reached almost three-fourths of the way towards a replacement level of fertility in at least three districts of Gujarat state where the IMR continues to be high and female literacy rates are much lower than even in Tamil Nadu.
These findings do not imply that universal literacy and low infant and child mortality are not worthwhile goals for a society to pursue or that societies can divert resources from the pursuit of these objectives to other issues. They do confirm, however, that it is difficult or impossible to specify the threshold levels of progress in social goals or modernisation that would usher in a sharp fertility decline.
In several discussions, Kerala’s experience is cited as a model to suggest that universal female literacy, low infant mortality, and a high status of women, summarised as social development, would help to accelerate fertility transition. However, the important role of international migration to the Gulf countries as a means of escaping the poverty trap and the associated rise in the aspirations of living desired for the family and the children is often underestimated.
Likewise, the history of matriarchal tradition in Kerala is often cited as indicating the high status enjoyed by Kerala women. However, the evidence on the subject is by no means clear. The key word at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) at Cairo was empowerment of women. However, the concept of empowerment is difficult to translate. The NPP 2000 has stressed the need for ending discrimination against girls during childhood and early adolescence and against women during the childbearing period in order to improve their health and nutrition. Legal action is certainly not enough. Many laws enacted by our progressive legislatures continue to be violated with impunity in large parts of India.
Determinants of Declining Mortality:
The main reasons responsible for the decline in mortality rate are as under:
1. Decline in Epidemics:
In India, systematic efforts are being made to reduce the incidence of epidemics like plague, malaria, etc.
2. Urbanisation of Population:
Majority of population has migrated to towns. In 2011 Census, about 31% of the total population was in towns as compared to 28% in 1991. Moreover, development of medical and sanitary conditions has also reduced the death rate.
3. Late Marriages:
The late marriages have been encouraged in the country. Laws regarding marriages have been vigorously enforced.
4. More Medical Facilities:
Medical facilities in the country are going on to develop rapidly.
5. Spread of Education:
The literacy ratio in the country has been increasing at an equal interval. People have more resources and better facilities to nourish their children.
6. Change in Habits:
Habits of the people are also changing. Now they have more care for their health which has led to a decline in death rate.
7. Decline in Social Evils:
In India, various social evils like caste system, superstition, etc. are steadily being rooted out. This has also led to the decline in the death rate.
8. Balanced Diet:
People are getting better and balanced diet.
Essay # 3. Age and Sex Structure:
Currently, nearly half of the global population is below 25 years of age and one sixth is in the age group 15-24. In developed countries the reproductive age group population is relatively small; their fertility is low and the longevity at birth is high. Population profiles of these countries resemble a cylinder and not a pyramid. These countries have the advantages of having achieved a stable population but have to face the problems of having a relatively small productive workforce to support the large aged population with substantial non-communicable disease burden.
Some of the developing countries have undergone a very rapid decline in the birth rates within a short period. This enabled them to quickly achieve population stabilisation but they do face the problems of rapid changes in the age structure and workforce which may be inadequate to meet their manpower requirements. In contrast, the population in most of the developing countries, including India, consist of a very large proportion of children and persons in the reproductive age.
Because of the large reproductive age group (Population momentum) the population will continue to grow even when replacement level of fertility is reached (couples having only two children). Age statistics form an important component of population analysis, as most of the analysis is based on age-sex structure of the population.
The usefulness of age data is more noticeable when it is cross classified by variables like marital status, literacy, educational attainment, and economic activity which vary with age in different patterns. Apart from purely demographic concerns, the age-sex data structure is required for age specific analysis of data for planning, scientific, technical, and commercial purposes.
The dependency ratio, which is the ratio of economically active to economically inactive persons, is dependent on age composition. India has one of the largest proportions of population in the younger age groups in the world. 31.2% of the population of the country has been in the age group 0-14 years. Census 2001 data on marital status of persons show that out of over a billion population of the country, 513 million (49.8%) have reported as ‘Never married’, mainly due to high proportion of young people. The ‘Married’ constitute about 45.6% of the total population.
Essay # 4. Sex Ratio in India and Its Determinants:
The sex ratio of India has shown improvement during last two decades. Sex ratio, as per the recent Census is 940 which is largely comparable to the best performance (941 in 1961) in last fifty years. Several steps, including gender equality awareness campaigns were taken by the government to arrest the trend of declining sex ratio.
State Wise Comparison with All India Averages:
The lowest sex ratio among the States has been recorded in Haryana (877), Jammu & Kashmir (883), and Sikkim (889). Among the UTs, the lowest sex ratio has been returned in Daman & Diu (618), Dadra & Nagar Haveli (775), and Chandigarh (818). Among the major States, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, and Gujarat have experienced a fall in the sex ratio. The decline ranged from 2 points in Gujarat to 9 points in Jammu & Kashmir.
Other smaller Union Territories showing steep decline are Dadra & Nagar Haveli (37 points) and Daman and Diu (92 points). Perceptible increase has been observed in the major states such as Uttar Pradesh. It is interesting to note that states having historically low sex ratio such as Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Chandigarh have shown appreciable increase in the sex ratio in Census 2011 with Chandigarh and Delhi showing an improvement of more than 40 points compared to 2001.
Majority of the states identified as gender critical for special attention and intervention as part of the Census 2011 have shown increasing trend in the sex ratio as per the provisional results.
Essay # 5. Growth Rate of Population in India:
1. Growth during 1891 to 1921:
The growth of population in India can be properly studied in three distinct phases. During the first phase of 30 years, i.e., from 1891 to 1921, the size of population in India increased from 23.6 crore to 25.1 crore, i.e., by 1.5 crore, showing the annual compound growth rate of only 0.19 per cent per annum. But the average annual growth rate of population gradually increased from 0.30 per cent in 1901 to 0.50 percent in 1911 and then attained a negative growth rate of -0.03 per cent in 1921.
2. Growth during 1921-51:
During the second phase of 30 years, i.e., from 1921 to 1951, India’s population increased from 25.1 crore to 36.1 crore, i.e., by 11 crore and the annual compound growth rate during this second phase was 1.22 per cent. But the annual average growth rate of population in India gradually increased from 1.06 per cent in 1931 to 1.34 per cent in 1941 and then slightly declined to 1.26 per cent in 1951.
3. Growth during 1951-81:
During the third phase of 30 years, i.e., from 1951-1981, the size of population in India increased from 36.1 crore in 1951 to 68.3 crore in 1981, i.e., by 32.4 crore and the annual compound growth rate during the period was 2.15 per cent. Besides, the annual average growth rate of population in India increased from 1.98 per cent in 1961 to 2.20 per cent in 1971 and then to 2.25 per cent in 1981.
4. Growth during 1981-2011:
Again as per 1991 census report, the total size of population in India increased to 84.4 crore in 1991 showing an annual average growth rate of 2.11 per cent which is slightly less than the previous decade. The decadal growth rate of population which was 24.7 per cent in during 1971-81 and then finally declined slightly to 24.8 per cent during 1981-91.
As per provisional census figure of 2001, the total population of India as on 1st March, 2001 stood at 102.70 crore. The decadal growth rate of population which was 23,8 per cent during 1981-91, gradually declined to 21.34 per cent in 1991-2001, showing a decadal increase of population to the extent of 18.3 crore. The annual average growth rate of population in India during 1991-2001 stood at 1.93 per cent.
As per provisional population totals of census 2011 the total population of India as on 1st March 2011 Stood at 121.07 crore. The decadal growth rate of population which was 21.34 per cent during 1991-2001, gradually declined to 17.70 per cent during 2001-2011, showing a decadal increase of population to the extent of 18.19 crore.
Thus as it was expected, that the rate of growth of population in India would decline significantly in response to country’s family planning programme. But it has not come true. At present India is passing through the second stage of demographic transition and thus facing a serious ‘population explosion’.
This population explosion itself reflects the cause and consequences of underdevelopment character of the economy. Thus although India experienced a sharp fall in the death rate due to its substantial expansion of hospital and medical facilities but the rate of growth of population in the country remained still high mainly due to its high birth rate.
Table 6.1 reveals that in 1891, total population of India was 23.6 crore and then it subsequently increased to 25.1 crore in 1921, 36.1 crore in 1951, 54.8 crore in 1971, 68.3 crore in 1981 and then to 84.4 crore in 1991. The size of population on 1st March 2001 was 102.7 crore and then it further increased to 121.07 crore in 2011.
Essay # 6. Factors Contributing to the High Growth Rate of Population:
1. Sharp Fall in Death Rate:
In India the death rate has fallen sharply during the first half of the twentieth century, i.e., from 42.6 per thousand in 1901-11 to 12.8 per thousand in 1951-61. Various factors are responsible for this sharp fall in death rate. Kingsley Davis mentioned that, “The causes of decline in Indian mortality are harder to establish than the fact itself.”
However, the factors which have largely contributed to this sharp fall in the death rate include removal of famines leading to eradication of starvation death, control of epidemics arising through cholera and small pox, decline in the incidence of malaria and tuberculosis and some other factors like improvement of public health measures like drinking water supply, improved hygienic and sanitation facilities and the improvement of medical and hospital facilities.
Thus all these factors had led to sudden and phenomenal fall in the death rate in recent years, i.e., to 7.0 per thousand in 2013 and this is considered as the most important factor for this high rate of growth of population in India.
2. No Substantial Fall in the Birth Rate:
During the first half of the present century, the birth rate in India did not fall substantially. The birth rate in India declined marginally for 49.2 per thousand in 1901-11 to 41.7 in 1951-61 and then to 21.8 per thousand in 2011.
Due to this maintenance of birth rate to a very high level, the rate of growth of population in India remained all along high. Moreover, due to tropical climate, puberty of women in India starts at an early age leading to a large number of births.
3. Accelerating Natural Growth Rate:
The most important factor which is responsible for the high rate of growth of population is its accelerating natural growth rate. This has resulted from the wide gap between the birth rate and death rate of population in India. The factor which is again responsible for this wide gap is the sudden and phenomenal fall in the death rate no substantial fall in the birth rate.
Due to remarkable advance in medical sciences along with the improvement and expansion of public health and medical facilities, the death rate in India has come down from 27.4 per thousand in 1951 to above 9.0 per thousand in 1996.
But the birth rate of Indian population still remained as high as 27.4 per thousand in 1996. All these had led to a severe increase in the natural growth rate of population from 12.5 per thousand in 1951 to 25.3 per thousand in 1971 and then slightly declined to 14.7 per thousand in 2011.
1. Universality of Marriage:
Marriage is almost universal in India as it is a religious and social necessity of the country. Parents feel that it is their social obligation to arrange marriages for the daughters. Thus presently in India, about 76 per cent of women of their reproductive age are married and by attaining the age of 50 only 5 out of 1,000 Indian women remain unmarried. Hence, this has resulted a very high birth rate.
2. Practice of Early Marriage:
Practice of early marriage is very much common in various parts of the country and the average age of marriage is still around 18 years. Between the ages of 15 to 20 years, more than 8 out of every 10 girls got married in India. Thus the practice of empty marriage raises the span of reproductively. Some reduction of fertility would be possible if the average age of marriage of Indian women can be raised to 25 or more.
In India, illiteracy is widespread as a significant portion of Indian population and women in particular are still illiterate. The literacy rate among the women in India is only 65.4 per cent as against 82.1 per cent among men and the incidence of female illiteracy is comparatively much higher in backward states.
It has been observed by most of the economists that spread of education alone can change the attitudes of the people towards marriages, family, birth of a child etc. and help the people to shed irrational ideas and religious superstitions.
There is an inverse correlation between the spread of education and fertility. The findings of the Operations Research Group Survey show that birth rates in general are lower and adoption of family planning norms become more popular in those states where education is more widespread.
Further, due to lack of education, the response of rural population in respect of adoption of family planning norms and use of contraceptives are not at all encouraging.
4. Religious and Social Attitudes:
Religious and social attitudes of the Indian people induce to prefer large families. The idea to have sons and daughters for performing religious rites and to earn religious merit is still very much common in Indian society.
As Mamdani observed, “Marriage vows and blessing put emphasis on the good fortune of having many children………………. Sanctions against childless women further underline the necessity of children.” Moreover, social attitudes towards unmarried men and women and childless couple are not very encouraging. Further, the existence of joint family system induces thoughtlessness about the number of children.
5. Ignorance and Lack of Conscious Family Planning:
People of India are very much ignorant about the biology of reproduction, need for birth control and devices of birth control. In India, there is also lack of conscious family planning along-with lack of birth control devices, more particularly in the rural areas. That is why the Family Planning Programme in India could not do much headway in reducing the birth rate.
6. Other Factors:
Various other factors, viz., tropical climate, existence of polygamy, higher widow remarriages etc. are responsible for this high rate of growth of population in India. Moreover, growing immigration of population from the neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal etc. is also raising the growth rate of population in India to a considerable extent.
This problem of immigration is very much acute in Assam and north-eastern states, West Bengal and Bihar. This has been creating the problem of influx of population within the country besides raising a threat towards national security.
Essay # 7. Population Projection for India (2001-2026):
Population projection is a scientific attempt to peep into the future population scenario, conditioned by making certain assumptions, using data relating to the past available at that point of time. Assumptions used and their probability of adhering in future, forms a critical input in this mathematical effort.
Predicting the future course of human fertility and mortality is not easy, especially when looking beyond in time as medical and health intervention strategies, food production and its equitable availability, climatic variability, sociocultural setting, politico economic conditions, and a host of other factors influence population dynamics, making it difficult to predict the growth with certainty. Therefore, caution must be exercised while making or using the population projections in the context of various conditions imposed.
The Component Method is the universally accepted method of making population projections because growth of population is determined by fertility, mortality, and migration rates. Twenty-one States have been considered and applied the Component method. They are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
pThe projection of the seven north-eastern states (excluding Assam) has also been carried out as a whole. For the State of Goa and six Union territories, Mathematical Method has been applied. The data used are 2001 Census and Sample Registration System (SRS). SRS provides time series data of fertility and mortality, which has been used for predicting their future levels.
Critical Demographic Issues:
The salient features of the population projections at the national level, and some of the underlying assumptions in this regard, are as under:
1. The population of India is expected to increase from 1029 million to 1400 million during the period 2001-2026—an increase of 36% in twenty- five years at the rate of 1.2% annually. As a consequence, the density of population will increase from 313 to 426 persons per square kilometer.
2. The crude birth rate will decline from 23.2 during 2001-05 to 16.0 during 2021-25 because of falling level of total fertility. In contrast, the crude death rate is expected to fall marginally due to changing age structure of the population with the rising median age as a result of continuing decline in fertility and increase in the expectation of life at birth. It will drop from 7.5 during 2001-05 to 7.2 during 2021-25.
3. The infant mortality rate of the country, which is reported to be 63 in 2002, is expected to go down to 40 by the end of the period 2021-25.
4. Between 2001 and 2026, because of the declining fertility, the proportion of population aged under 15 years is projected to decline from 35.4 to 23.4%; the proportion of the middle (15-59 years) and the older ages (60 years and above) are set to increase considerably.
With the declining fertility, along with the increases in life expectancy, the number of older persons in the population is expected to increase by more than double from 71 million in 2001 to 173 million in 2026—an increase in their share to the total population from 6.9 to 12.4%. The proportion of population in the working age group 15-59 years is expected to rise from 57.7% in 2001 to 64.3% in 2026.
5. Another important consequence of the declining fertility will be that, at the national level, the population in the school-going age of 5-14 years is expected to decline from 243 million in 2001 to 222 million in 2026. The share of the population aged 5-14 years to total population of all ages is expected to decrease by 5% from 24% in 2001 to 19% in 2011 and by 3% between 2011 to 2026 (19 to 16%).
6. The youth population in the age group 15-24 years is expected to increase from 195 million in 2001 to 224 million in 2026. Its proportion to total population is expected to fall from 19% in 2001 to 16% in 2026.
7. The average Indian will be expected to be of 31 years old in 2026 compared to 23 years old in 2001.
8. Out of the total population increase of 371 million between 2001 and 2026, the share of the workers in the age group 15-59 years in this total increase is 83%. This has implication in the productivity of labour in future.
9. The sex ratio of the total population (females per 1000 males) is expected to decrease (i.e., become less feminine) from 933 in 2001 to 930 during 2026.
10. The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is expected to decline from 2.9 during 2001-2005 to 2.0 during 2021-25. The assumption is that the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) would decline steadily and would touch the floor value of 1.8 in some states. With this, the weighted TFR is projected to reach the replacement level of 2.1 by the period 2021.
11. The urban population in the country, which is 28% in 2001, is expected to increase to 38% by 2026. The urban growth would account for over two-thirds (67%) of total population increase by 2026. Out of the total population increase of 371 million during 2001-2026 in the country, the share of increase in urban population is expected to be 249 million.
12. The demographic projections suggest that by 2026, the population of India will reach 1,384 million.
State Level Demographic Projections:
Considerable variation in the demographic growth amongst the States has been estimated.
The salient features of the projections at the state level are as under:
1. The State, which is expected to have least growth in the quarter century (2001-2026) is Tamil Nadu (15%), followed by Kerala (17%). In contrast, Delhi will have the highest projected growth of 102% during 2001-2026. States, which will have projected growths in the range of 20-30% are Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.
The population in the states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh is projected to increase by 40-50% during 2001-2026, which is above the national average of 36%. The population of Uttar Pradesh is expected to be highest among all the states of the country at almost 249 million in 2026.
2. Of the projected increase in population of 371 million in India during 2001-26,187 million is likely to occur in the seven States of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttaranchal (termed as BIMARU states, since it was so before division). Thus, nearly 50% of India’s demographic growth during this period of twenty five years, is projected to take place in these seven states. 22 % of the total population increase in India of 371 million during 2001-26 is anticipated to occur in Uttar Pradesh alone.
The population in these seven states together is expected to grow at 1.5% per annum during 2001-26. In contrast, the contribution of the four southern states, namely Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, to the total increase in population size of the country during 2001-2026 is expected to be 47 million—13% of total demographic growth of the country. The population in these four states together is expected to grow at 0.8% per annum during 2001-26.
3. Continuing decline in fertility and increase in the expectation of life at birth is expected to make a difference to the proportion of older population (60 years and above) between states. The State of Kerala, where lower fertility and mortality rates have been achieved earlier than the other states, the proportion of older persons aged 60 years and above is expected to increase from 11% in 2001 to 18% in 2026.
Thus, almost every sixth individual in Kerala is expected to be a senior citizen by 2026. In contrast, Uttar Pradesh is expected to have an increase of the proportion of old age population from 6% in 2001 to 10% in 2026, implying that the population of Uttar Pradesh will be expected to be relatively younger compared to that of Kerala. The median age of population in Kerala is expected to go up from 28 years in 2001 to 38 years in 2026. In contrast, the median age in Uttar Pradesh is expected to go up from 19 years to 27 years.
4. Because of declining fertility level in all the states, the crude birth rates (CBR) will also be declining. By 2021-25, except Uttar Pradesh, no state is expected to have a crude birth rate of 20 and above. The highest CBR of 20.5 per thousand is expected to be in Uttar Pradesh followed by Madhya Pradesh (18.0) during 2021-25.
Assam, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, and Uttaranchal are expected to have CBRs in the range of 16.5-17.6, close to the projected national level of 16.0. In most of the other states, the CBRs will be in the range 12-15. Kerala will be expected to have the least CBR of 12.3 followed by Tamil Nadu (12.5) during 2021-25.
5. In contrast to the CBRs, the situation is expected to be different in case of crude death rates (CDR). Because of increase in the expected proportion of ageing, in some of the states namely, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and North Eastern Region, the crude death rates are likely to increase during 2021-25.
6. The infant mortality rate (IMR) is expected to decline in all the states during 2001-25. The IMR, which was highest in Orissa in 2002 at 87 is expected to come down to 52 in 2021-25, followed by Madhya Pradesh (51). Other states, where IMRs are expected to be in the range of 40-50 during 2021-25 are Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and Andhra Pradesh. The lowest IMR is expected to be in Kerala, from 12 in 2001-05 to 8 during 2021-25. It will be followed by Delhi with IMR declining from 25 in 2001-05 to 18 during 2021-25.
7. In so far, as the projected sex ratio is concerned, it is observed that in some of the northern states, the population is expected to be more masculine, that is, the ratio will decrease in 2026. Lowest sex ratio of 789 is expected to be in Delhi in 2026, followed by 839 and 840 in Haryana and Punjab respectively. In the southern and eastern states except Kerala, the situation would be reverse. In Kerala, where there are excess females than males the trend would remain the same in 2026. Tamil Nadu is the other state, where the number of females is expected to be equal to the number of males in 2026.
Essay # 8. Population Projection in India by 2050:
United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) has projected the size of population of India and other countries by 2050 and the figures are released in its report ‘State of World Population 2008’. The report reveals that India whose population is growing by 1.5 per cent, will have 165.8 crore people against China’s 140.8 crore by 2050.
Accordingly, India will become the most populous country overtaking China by 2050.
The total fertility rate in India is 2.78 per cent which it is 1.73 in China where the population of growing by 0.6 per cent. The population of Pakistan will also increase from the current figure of 16.7 crore to 29.2 crore by 2050. The population of Bangladesh will increase from 16.1 crore to 25.4 crore by 2050. However, the population of Sri Lanka would witness negative growth as its present population will decline from 1.94 crore to 1.87 crore by 2050.
Some other Asian countries who are projected to be having negative growth include Japan and Korea. The population and U.S.A will increase from 30.8 crore at present to 40.2 crore by 2050. However, the World population will increase from 647 crore at present to 919 crore by 2050. The major chunk of the population growth will be recorded in less developed countries.