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Introduction to Population

  • Human resource, the people of the country, constitutes the greatest resource. Exploitation of natural resources and all activities for economic development are a result of the skill of the people.
  • By providing better health care facilities, better quality of education and technological skills, the people of the country can contribute more to economic development and increased productivity.
  • Census is an official enumeration of population, done periodically. In India, the first census was done in 1872. Every 10 years, the government publishes the demographic, social and economic data.
  • India has the second largest population in the world with 1.21 billion people. This constitutes 17.3 per cent of the world’s population.
  • With a population growth rate of 1.8 per cent, India is predicted to have 1.53 billion people by 2030. India may overtake China and occupy the first position in the world in terms of total population.
  • The total male population in India is 655.8 million, and the total female population is 614.4 million, according to the 2011 census.
  • Sex ratio is 940 females per 1000 males (2011 census). Sex ratio is highest in Kerala (1058 females per 1000 males), followed by Pondicherry (1001 females per 1000 males) and Chattisgarh (990 females per 1000 males). The lowest sex-ratio is in Haryana (861 females per 1000 males).
  • Migration is a major factor that influences the distribution of the population.

‘Internal migration’ means migration within states. This does not change the size of population, but leads to differences of population distribution within a country. ‘International migration’ means the movement of people between countries crossing international borders. This influences the size of population in both the countries of outmigration and inmigration. There are certain factors that cause the population to migrate. Poverty, lack of employment opportunities, lack of health care and education facilities, especially in large areas of rural India, acts as a push factor for the population to migrate out from their areas. Pull factors refer to the positive factors like better education and health care facilities, better opportunities for employment, that attract people towards urban areas.

This has resulted in very high population as well as very high density of population in urban towns and cities. The number of ‘million cities’ has increased from 23 to 35 between 1991 and 2001. About 72.2 per cent of the total population stays in rural areas and 27.8 per cent reside in urban areas.

  • According to the 2011 census, 50 per cent of India’s population is in the age group of 0–25 years. 65% of the total population is below the age of 35 years.
  • The most densely populated state (2001 census) is West Bengal (904 persons per sq. km) and the least density is in Arunachal Pradesh (13 persons per sq. km). India’s population density is 324 persons per sq. km.
  • India’s population is increasing. The major reasons for rapid growth of population in India are poverty, illiteracy, high fertility rate, rapid decline in death rates or mortality rates, immigration from some of the neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Nepal.
  • Birth rate indicates the number of child births per 1000 people per year. In 2009, the birth rate in India was 22.22 births per 1000 people.
  • Death rate indicates the number of deaths per 1000 individuals per year. In 2009, the death rate in India was 6.4 deaths per 1000 people.
  • Fertility rate in India was 2.72 children born per woman (2009).
  • Infant mortality rate in India in 2009 was 30.15 deaths per 1000 live births.
  • ‘Literate’ refers to a person aged seven years who can read and write in any one language with understanding. According to the 2011 census, the literacy rate of India is 74.04 per cent. Male literacy rate is 82.14 per cent, female literacy rate is 65.46 per cent. The highest literacy rate is in Kerala (93.9 per cent), followed by Lakshadweep (92.3 per cent) and Mizoram (91.6 per cent).
  • In terms of state-wise distribution of population, Uttar Pradesh has the highest population in India, followed by Maharashtra and Bihar.
  • Density of population varies in India. Uneven distribution of the population has resulted in several population zones in the country
  1. Low density regions
  • Population density is below 100 persons per sq. km.
  • Mainly found in areas of rugged topography and unfavourable climate.
  • Found in state of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh.
  1. Moderate density regions
  • Population density is between 100 and 250 persons per sq. km.
  • Hilly and rocky terrain, lack of soil fertility and moderate to low rainfall contributes to moderate population density.
  • Mainly found in South Indian states, Assam.
  1. High density regions
  • Population density is above 250 persons per sq. km.
  • Fertile alluvial plains with abundant rainfall lead to high concentration of people.
  • The Indo-Gangetic plains of North India (Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal) and Kerala has very high concentration of people.
  • Some of the problems due to population growth are unemployment problem, malnutrition and lack of food security, slow rate of economic development, lack of adequate infrastructure like housing, various socio-economic and political problems, and environmental pollution, etc.
  • India is a secular nation. Some of the major religions followed by the people are Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikkhism, Buddhism, Jainism and others.
  • People of different regions of India speak different languages. Languages like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam are of Dravidian origin. Some of the languages derived from Sanskrit are Assamese, Bengali, Oriya, Hindi, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Gujarati, Marathi etc.
  • Human Resource Development includes population planning and improving the quality of life of the people. The main purpose is to increase social welfare and increase labour productivity. The large population of India is not optimally utilised due to illiteracy, poverty, poor health and unemployment.
  • The National Family Planning Program was initiated in 1952 to regulate the growth rate of population. The declining trends of the growth rate are a positive indicator of the birth control efforts introduced in India.
  • The National Population Policy 2000 provides for
  1. imparting compulsory and free school education for all children upto 14 years of age.
  2. reducing infant mortality rates
  3. immunisation of all children by vaccine against some of the preventable diseases
  4. promoting the delayed marriage of girls to reduce the number of child births
  5. additional nutrition and information related to protection from unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STD) to adolescents.

Occupational structure, i.e., the distribution of the population with respect to their occupation is a major index of development.

  1. Primary activities such as agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing, mining, forestry etc. In India more than 64 per cent of the population is engaged only in agriculture.
  2. Secondary activities such as manufacturing industry, building and construction work, etc., involve about 13 per cent of India’s population.
  3. 20 per cent of the population is engaged in tertiary activities such as transport, communication, trade and commerce, administrative services.
  • In developed countries like USA and UK, higher percentage of population is engaged in the secondary and tertiary sectors, than in primary sector.
  • At present, there is a gradual shift from the primary sector to the secondary and tertiary sectors due to urbanisation and growing industrialisation.
  • Health is a major indicator of population development.
  1. Considerable improvement has been noticed in the areas of public health, prevention of infectious diseases, the public distribution system, extension of hygiene and sanitation in India.
  2. Despite these achievements, the major health problems in India are malnutrition, lack of safe drinking water, availability of sanitation to a meager part of the rural population, etc.

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