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Demographic trends in India

Scientific study of the population is known as Demography. The various aspects of demographic trends in India are:
  • Size of population
  • Rate of growth
  • Birth and death rates
  • Density of population
  • Sex-ratio
  • Life-expectancy at birth
  • Literacy ratio

Size of population

It is determined by the number of persons.
 
Census Year
Population
(in crores)
Average annual growth rate
1901
23.84
-
1911
25.21
0.56
1921
25.13
-0.03
1931
27.90
1.04
1941
31.87
1.33
1951
36.11
1.25
1961
43.92
1.96
1971
54.81
2.20
1981
68.33
2.22
1991
84.33
2.16
2001
102.70
1.97
2011
121.02
1.66
 
The population of India in 1901 was 23.84 crores and after 100 years, in 2011, it was 121.02 crores. Thus, over a period of 100 years, it has quadrupled (become 4 times). In 2010, our population was 117crores. In terms of, size of population, India ranks 2nd in the world after China. India has only about 2.4% of the world’s area and contributes less than 1.2% of the world’s income, but accommodates about 17.5% of the world’s population. In other words, every 6th person in the world is an Indian. Infact, the combined population of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra is more than the population of United States of America, the third most populous country of the world.
 
Between 1911 to 1921, population has decreased by 0.03%. The negative growth during 1911-21 was due to rapid and frequent occurrence of epidemics like cholera, plague, influenza and famines. The year 1921 is known as the ‘Year of Great Divide’ for India’s population. During 1951, population growth rate has come down from 1.33% to 1.25%. Hence it is known as ‘Year of Small divide’. In 1961, population of India started increasing at the rate of 1.96% i.e, 2%. Hence 1961 is known as ‘Year of Population Explosion’. In the year 2001, the Population of India crossed one billion (100 crore) mark.

Rate of growth

Rate of growth shows the growth rate of population per decade and per annum. This shows the growth rate of population per decade.
 
Decade
Growth rate per decade (%)
1901 - 1911
05.74
1911 - 1921
(-) 00.31
1921 - 1931
11.00
1931 - 1941
14.22
1941 1951
13.31
1951- 1961
21.64
1961 - 1971
24.80
1971 - 1981
24.66
1981 - 1991
23.86
1991 2001
21.54
2001 - 2011
17.64

 

During 1901-11, the population grew by 5.74% over the decade i.e. 0.56% per annum. The next decade (1911 1921) saw a negative growth rate. The slow or negative growth during 1901-21 was due to rapid and frequent occurrence of epidemics like cholera, plague, influenza and famines. Since independence, the rate has crossed the 2% mark. Between 1961- 1991, the growth rate has remained above 2% per annum. During the decade 1991-01, the growth rate has come down to 1.97% per annum. Between 2001 and 2011, population growth rate was 1.64% per annum.
 
Among States Bihar has the highest decadal (2001-11) growth rate of population, while Kerala has the lowest rate.

Birth rate and death rate

Crude Birth rate: It refers to the number of births per thousand of population.
 
Crude Death rate: It refers to the number of deaths per thousand of population
 
Crude birth and death rates of India during various years
 
Year
C.B.R
C.D.R.
1951
39.9
27.4
2001
25.4
8.4
2011
21.8
7.11
 
Birth rate was 39.9 in 1951; it fell to 21.8 in 2011. Although the birth rate has declined, the decline is not so remarkable. The death rate has declined from 27.4 in 1951 to 7.1 in 2011. However, from the data it is clear that the fall in birth rates is less than that of death rates. Kerala has the lowest birth rate (14.7) and Uttar Pradesh has the highest (29.5). West Bengal has the lowest death rate (6.3) and Orissa (9.2) has the highest.

Density of population

It refers to the average number of persons residing per square kilometre. It represents the man land ratio. As the total land area remains the same, an increase in population causes density of population to rise.

 
Year
Density of population
(No. of persons per sq. km)
1951
117
1961
142
1971
177
1981
216
1991
267
2001
325
2011
382

 

Before independence, the density of population was less than 100. But after independence, it has increased rapidly from 117 in 1951 to 267 in 1991 and further to 325 in 2001. According to 2011 censes, the present Density of population is 382. Thus, the pressure of population on land has been rising. Kerala, West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have density higher than the average density, while Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Orissa, Rajasthan, Sikkim etc. have density lower than the nation’s average. The difference in densities could be due to the differences in natural resources endowment, level of development, etc. Bihar is the most densely populated state in the country with 1102 persons living per sq.km followed by West Bengal with 880. Arunachal Pradesh has low density of population only 17 persons. If we consider all states and union territories of India, Delhi has the highest density of population with 11,297 persons, followed by Chandigarh with 9252 persons living per square kilometre. It has also been noticed that areas which are industrially well developed experience higher density when compared to areas which are not. If the agricultural sector is dominant, better climate, rainfall and irrigation facilities the density of population would be high.

Sex ratio or Gender composition

It refers to the number of females per 1,000 males. It is an important indicator to measure the extent of prevailing equity between males and females at a given point of time.

 

Census year
Sex ratio
(females per 1000 males)
1951
946
1961
941
1971
930
1981
934
1991
927
2001
933
2011
940

 

In Kerala, the ratio of females to males is 1084 as in 2011. A number of reasons are ascribed for a high ratio of males to females. Reasons for the same are:
  • Neglect of female child
  • High death rate among females
  • Under reporting of female births
In India, the sex ratio is more favourable to males than to females. Thus, our society is male dominated. The recent census (2011) shows that there has been a marginal increase in sex ratio. The sex ratio was 927 in 1991 and in 2011, it was 940. This means that the number of males per thousand females is decreasing. For rural and urban India, this ratio was 946 and 900 respectively in 2001. Haryana has the lowest female sex ratio of 877 (2011) among other states, while Kerala provides better status to women as compared to other states.

Life expectancy at birth

It refers to the mean expectation of life at birth. Life expectancy has improved over the years. Life expectancy is low when death rate is high and / or instances of early death are high. On the other hand, life expectancy is high when death rate is low and / or instances of early death are low.

 

Year
Male
Female
Overall
1951
32.5
31.7
32.1
1991
58.6
59.0
58.7
2001
61.6
63.3
62.5
2011
62.6
64.2
63.5

 

During 1901 11, life expectancy was just 23 years. It enhanced to 63.5 years in 2011. A considerable fall in death rate is responsible for improvement in the life expectancy at birth. In 2006, Kerala had the highest life expectancy at birth at 71.4 years and on the contrary Madhya Pradesh has the lowest life expectancy at birth at 58 years.

Literacy ratio

It refers to the number of literates as a percentage of the total population. In 1951, only one-fourth of the males and one-twelfth of the females were literates. Thus, on an average, only one-sixth of the people of the country were literates. In 2011, 82% of males and 65.5% of females were literates giving an overall literacy rate of 74.04% (2011). When compared to other developed countries, this rate is very low.

 

Census year
Literate persons
Males
Females
1951
18.3
27.2
8.9
1961
28.3
40.4
15.4
1971
34.4
46.0
22.0
1981
43.6
56.4
29.8
1991
52.21
64.1
39.30
2001
64.8
75.3
53.7
2011
74.04
82.1
65.5

 

Kerala has the highest literacy rate (92%) followed by Goa (82%), Himachal Pradesh (76%), Maharastra (75%) and Tamilnadu (74%). Bihar has the lowest literacy Rate (53%) in 2011.




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