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Population: Size and Distribution

Before we move on to the population of India let us see the world population.

Map of populations by country

As seen in the map above India and China are World’s most thickly populated countries

India’s Population, Size and Distribution by Numbers

India’s population as on March 2001 was found to be 1,028 million, which 16.7 per cent of the world’s population. These 1.02 billion people are randomly distributed over 3.28 million square km of our country, India, which is actually 2.4 per cent of the world’s area.


India's share in world population

Uttar Pradesh with a population of 166 million people is the most populous State in India. Uttar Pradesh holds 16 per cent of our country’s population. 50% of India’s population is distributed over five major states, namely, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Rajasthan, the state with the largest area contains only 5.5% of the total population.

India Population density

World Population Density



Population Growth

The increase increase in the number of people living in a country/region during a specified time period is known as population growth.

Countries by Population growth rate


Population growth is the change in population over time, and can be quantified as the change in the number of individuals in a population per unit time. The term population growth can technically refer to any species, but almost always refers to humans.

India's population growth rate



Population Growth may be expressed in terms of

(i) Absolute numbers

(ii) In terms of percentage increase per year.

Population growth in terms of Absolute number
The absolute numbers added to the population over a period is obtained by simple subtraction. That is, the earlier year’s population is subtracted from the current year’s population. This may be termed as absolute increase.

Change Population growth in terms of percentage
The rate of change of population is an important aspect of population study. If there is an increase of 3 persons per every 100 numbers, it is understood as 3% annual growth rate.

The trend in the growth of population and the resulting annual growth may be studied from the table given below.

The declining trend in the annual growth rate is a positive indicator,to the effect of the various population control measures taken in our country. However, there is consistent growth in the population also. It is estimated that, India may overtake China in 2045 and acquire the status of the most populous country in the world.


Process of Population Change


Birth rate is the number of live births per thousand persons in a year. In India, the birth rate is observed to be always higher than the death rate.

Death rate is the number of deaths per thousand persons in a year. High birth rates and low death rates resulted in the rapid to higher increase in population till 1980.  Since, 1981, due to various birth control measures, birth rates also started declining resulting in a lower increase in population.

Migration is another contributory factor to change in population. Migration may be

(i) Internal (with in the country).

(ii) International (within countries).

Internal migration disturbs the population distribution but does not affect the size of the population.


Conditions for "PUSH" factor from rural to urban

(i) Adverse poverty conditions.

(ii) Unemployment.

Conditions for "PULL" factor by Urban from Rural

(i) Increased employment opportunities.

(ii) Better living conditions.

Migration plays a significant role in population distribution and change in population composition in terms of age and sex factor.

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