When it is said that birth rate in India is 23, it means every year 23 children are born per thousand persons, on an average.

The percentage decadal growth during 2001-2011 has registered the sharpest decline since independence. For 2001-2011, the decadal growth has become 17.64 per cent—a decrease of 3.90 per cent from 21.54 per cent for the period 1991-2001. 2.

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Density of Population:Density of population implies average number of people living per square kilometer. Density of population in a country is measured by dividing its total population by total area. The population density of India from 1901 to 2011 has been the density of population of India was as low as 142 persons per sq. km. and this steadily increased from 267 in 1931 to 382 in 2011.

3. Growth Pattern:The total population of India in 1901 was about 238 million which rose to 361 million in 1951 and 843 million in 1991 in March 2001, India’s population was 1,027 million, which became over 1210 million in March 2011. The annual growth rate since 1971 has been over 2 per cent, while the growth percentages in 1991 and 2001 over the base year of 1901 were about 254 and 331 per cent respectively.

Between 2001 and 2011, however, the growth rate declined to 1.76 per cent. The percentage decadal growth rates of the six most populous states have declined during 2001-2011 compared to 1991-2001: (i) Uttar Pradesh (25.85% to 20.09%) (ii) Maharashtra (22.

73% to 15.99%) (iii) Bihar (28.62% to 25.

07%) (iv) West Bengal (17.77% to 13.93%) (v) Andhra Pradesh (14.59% to 11.

10%) (vi) Madhya Pradesh (24.26% to 20.30%) (vii) During 2001-2011, as many as 25 states/UTs with a share of about 85 per cent of the country’s population registered an annual growth rate of less than 2 per cent as compared to 15 states/UTs with a share of about 42 per cent during the period 1991-2001. (viii) 15 states/UTs have grown by less than 1.5 per cent per annum during 2001-2011, while the number of such states/UTs was only four during the previous decade. (ix) Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state with almost 200 million people, which is more than the population of Brazil. (x) The combined population of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra (the second most populous state), at 312 million, is substantially greater than the population of USA. (xi) Three-fifths of India’s population live in the following seven states: Uttar Pradesh: 199.

6 million (xii) Maharashtra: 112.4 million Bihar: 103.8 million West Bengal: 91.3 million Andhra Pradesh: 84.7 million Madhya Pradesh: 72.6 million Tamil Nadu: 72.1 million (xiii) The least populous state is Sikkim.

(xiv) Among the union territories, NCT of Delhi is the most populous. Population 0-6 Years: (i) The total number of children in the age group 0-6 years is 158.8 million (-5 million since 2001). (ii) Twenty states/UTs now have over one million children in the age group 0-6 years. On the other extreme, there are five states/UTs in the country which are yet to reach the 1, 00,000 marks. (iii) Uttar Pradesh (29.

7 million), Bihar (18.6 million), Maharashtra (12.8 million), Madhya Pradesh (10.

5 million) and Rajasthan (10.5 million constitute 52 per cent children in the age group 0-6 years). (iv) The proportion of child population in the age group 0-6 years to total population is 13.1 per cent, while the corresponding figure in 2001 was 15.9 per cent. The decline has been to the extent of 2.8 points.

(v) The share of children in the EAG states, at 53.2 per cent in 2011, has increased by about 1.3 per cent compared to 2001.

(vi) The proportion of child population in the age group 0-6 years to total population is indicative of fall/rise in fertility. 4. Demographic Transition of India:The demographic transition of India has been which can be divided into the following four stages: 1st Stage (1901-1921) – Stagnant population 2nd Stage (1921-1951) – Steady growth of population 3rd Stage (1951-1981) – Rapid growth of population 4th Stage (1981-2011) – High growth with definite signs of slowing down of population 1st Stage: Period of Stagnant Population (1901-1921): The first two decades of the 20th century (1901-1921) were the period of stagnant population. During this period, both birth rate and death rate were high. Population growth was slow and fluctuating. There was high infant mortality, lack of workers for agriculture, epidemics, lack of clean water, war and no family planning. 2nd Stage: Steady Growth of Population (1921-1951): During this stage, birth rate remained high, death rate decreased, and population grew steadily. There was improvement in health care (e.

g., small-pox, plague, and vaccine), hygiene, sanitation, food supply, and decrease in infant mortality rates. 3rd Stage: Rapid Growth of Population (1951-1981): This stage is characterized by decline in birth rate, low death rate and slow Population growth. The main reasons for decline in population growthwere: family planning, lower infant mortality, education, better per capita income, increased standard of living and changing status of women.

4th Stage: High Growth with Slowing Down of Population (1981-2011): In this period also, there is a declining trend in population growth. Education, health care, better income and standard of living have resulted into low growth of population. India has, at present, 28 states and seven union territories. The union territories are relatively small compared to the states, and directly adminis­tered by the Central Government. The states vary enormously in size and population. At one end of the spectrum is the mountainous state of Sikkim with a population of only 607,688 (2011) and at the other end is the state of Uttar Pradesh with a population of 199.58 million. There are only three other countries in the world, namely, China, USA and Indonesia, which have a population that exceeds the population of Uttar Pradesh.

The states vary not only in their geographical size and population count but also in terms of population density, socio-economic conditions, cultural practices, education, social norms regarding marriage, the status of women in society, and many other factors that influence the health-seeking behaviour and living conditions of the people, especially the productive health of women, and health and survival status of the female child. The population scenario turns kaleidoscopic when the states are looked individually. Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state with almost 200 million (16%), followed by Maharashtra and Bihar 95 million each, West Bengal (8%), Andhra Pradesh (7%) and Madhya Pradesh (6%). The percentage decadal growth rates of the six most populous states, namely, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, have declined during 2001-2011. Projections until 2025 (with the total population estimated at 1,380 million) reveal that it will be difficult to contain population growth even under assumptions of moderate decline in fertility. It is mainly because of the high fertility of the past and the resultant momentum of population growth.

This is especially so in the case of the Hindi-speaking states of the North, even taking into account the fairly rapid future declines in fertility areas in these states as assumed in the projections. The combined population of these states in 2011 was 536 million. 5. Sex Ratio:Sex ratio is defined as the number of females per 1,000 males. In fact, all over the” world, males outnumber females. Sex ratio in the world is 986 females to 1,000 males. According to 2001 census, sex ratio in India was 933 females to 1,000 males which increased to 940 in 2011. The sex ratio in India is highly skewed.

This is largely attributed to women’s lower status in society which has contributed to their higher mortality rate in all age groups up to 45. The fluctuating trend of sex ratio may be seen from the fact that in 1901 there were 972 females per 1,000 males, which declined to 930 in 1971, 934 in 1981 and 927 in 1991. In 2001 the sex ratio was, however, 933 recording an increase of six females per 1,000 of males which rose to 940 females per 1,000 males in 2011.

In India, it is in the state of Kerala, where females have outnumbered males. According to the census of 2001, the sex ratio in Kerala was 1,058 females per 1,000 males which became 1,048 in 2011. The lowest sex ratio was recorded in Haryana (877: 1000). The overall sex ratio at the national level has increased by 7 points since 2001 census. This is the highest ever sex ratio since 1971. Increase in sex ratio is observed in 29 states/UTs. Three major states, viz., J&K, Bihar and Gujarat, have shown decline in sex ratio.

The child sex ratio at India level (914) is lowest since independence. Increased trend in the child sex ratio (0-6) is seen in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. In all the remaining 27 states/UTs, the child sex ratio shows decline over the 2001 census. Sex ratio in Russia is 1140, followed by France 1050, Japan 1041, USA 1031 and China 940. The overall deficiency in sex ratio in India can be attributed partly to higher mortality of females and partly to their under enumeration in the census. Females in India have always suffered from a lower status, right front the time of conception. Women’s lower status in Indian society results in early marriages, lower literacy, poor nutrition and higher fertility and mortality levels, especially during the reproductive age.

Recently, the large metropolitan cities of Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore have experienced increasing incidence of female foeticide with the use of ultrasonography. The states of Haryana and Punjab are also having high incidence of female foeticide. 6.

Fertility:The fertility rate in India has been declining steadily. If there had been no contraception, the total fertility rates among married women might now be close to nine children. The increase in natural fertility is mostly due to the relaxation of many traditional checks on fertility that prevailed in Indian society for ages and kept the fertility levels of Indian women well below the biological maximum, or the levels observed in Europe in the !8th and 19th centuries. Such checks are: (i) prohibition of widow marriage, (ii) abstinence even among married couples for a considerable138 Population period of time in their reproductive life for various religious or cultural reasons, (iii) prolonged period of lactation, (iv) terminal abstinence by couples at relatively young ages because of sons and daughters getting married or their becoming grandparents, and (v) febrile diseases that affect fecundity, such as malaria or tuberculosis, etc.

The relaxation of these traditional checks on fertility, because of modernization and improvement in the health of the couples and because of better nutrition and control of certain communicable diseases, have pushed up the natural fertility levels in Indian society. In the absence of family planning programme and increased availability and use of modern methods of contraception, the total fertility rate would have gone up in the Indian society. A more serious and rigorous family planning programme is required to reduce the fertility rate, especially in rural areas, if the overall growth of population is to be arrested. 7. Literacy:Any person above the age of seven years, who can read and write in any language, is treated as literate. According to the 2011 census, over 74 per cent of the total population of India aged seven years and above is literate and remaining 26 per cent illiterate. Literacy rate has gone up from 64.

88 per cent in 2001 to 74.04 per cent in 2011, showing an increase of 9.21 per cent The literacy rate of males and females works out to be 82.14 per cent and 65.46 per cent respectively.

The increase in literacy rate in males and females during 2001-2011 has been of the order of 6.88 and 11.79 per cent respectively. The highest literacy rate is in Kerala being 93.91 per cent. The lowest literacy rate is in Bihar (63.

82%). The female literacy rate is also highest in Kerala (91.98%). The literacy rate at the state level has been plotted it may be observed that the highest literacy is in Kerala (93.91%), followed by Lakshadweep (92.28%) and Mizoram (91.58%).

The states of Bihar (63.82%), Rajasthan (67.06%), Andhra Pradesh (67.66%), Arunachal Pradesh (66.95%) Jharkhand, J&K and Uttar Pradesh have low literacy rates than the national average (74%).

It may be seen that the highest male literacy was in Kerala (96%), followed by Mizoram (93.7%) and Tripura (92.2%). The overall male literacy rate was 82.1 per cent.

The average female literacy rate is 65.46 per cent. The female literacy rate is also the highest in Kerala (91.98%), followed by Mizoram (89.40%) and Lakshadweep (88.25%). Despite all these achievements, there are 272, 950, 015 (26%) illiterates in the country.

8. Expectation of Life/Life Expectancy:Expectation of life refers to the average life of the people of a country. In India expectation of life of the people is very short. Currently, expectation of life in India is estimated to be 66 years as per 2011 Census.

In other countries it is much longer than ours. For instance, in Australia, it is 79 years, in Japan 83 years, in England and America 79 years, in Sweden and in Canada 81 years. The average life span of a child born in India has increased over the past four decades from 32.1 years during 1941-51 to 57.3 years in 1981-91 and about 66 years in 2011. This increase is largely attributed to the imple­mentation of various programmes of public health and control of commu­nicable diseases after independence. Among the states, an expectation of life in 1991 of over 65 years has been observed only in Kerala and Punjab. Expectation of life below 60 years has been observed in Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh.

These are the states where the status of women, especially the female child, has been found to be considerably lower to that of the males. 9. Age Structure/Composition:Age structure of a population in a country indicates the extent to which the population of that country is productive from the economic point of view. Population in the age group 15-60 years is considered as working population while population in the age group 0-14 years and above 60 years is regarded as non-working/dependent population. Higher proportion of working population is beneficial for the economic devel­opment of the country. In India, the percentage of population in the age group 0-14 years is still high.

Besides, the percentage of population above 60 years is also increasing, which indicates higher life expectancy and reduction in death rate in the country. 10. Rural-Urban Differentiation:Ratio of urban population to the total population of a country is an index of the level of industrialization of that country. As industries gather momentum in a country, ratio of urban population goes on rising. India is an agricultural country, so ratio of urban population here is less than the rural population.

Some important facts related to rural-urban differenti­ation in population of India are described as under: (i) According to 2011 census, about 30 per cent population was living in urban areas. As against it, 70 per cent of the population was living in rural areas. (ii) In the last 100 years, percentage of urban population in the country has increased from 13 per cent to 30 per cent. It proves that in the economic life of India, role of cities has been increasing. (iii) Compared to developed countries, the number of cities and the ratio of population living in urban areas are very low. Just about 30 per cent of population today lives in urban areas in India as against 80 per cent in England, 74 per cent in USA, 78 per cent in Japan, 83 per cent in South Korea, 91 per cent in Germany and 97 per cent in Belgium.

(iv) As per 2001 census, among India’s major cities, Mumbai ranked first with a population of 1.64 crore, Kolkata second with a population of 1.33 crore, and Delhi third with a population of 1.

28 crore. Two main causes of rise in urban population in India are: (i) Migration Effect: Rural life in India suffers from many difficulties, such as less opportunities of employment, low level of income, lack of educa­tional and training facilities, lack of health and medical facilities, etc. In order to get rid of these difficulties rural people migrate to urban areas. Attraction Effect: Urban living has its own attractions, such as educational, medical and health care facilities, job opportunities, devel­opment of railways, recreation centers, restaurants and parks, etc. Rural people are very much tempted by these allurements and decide to settle in towns and cities. According to a report by National Sample Survey, the main cause of rural male migration to urban areas is employment and rural female is wedding ties.

11. Population Policy of India:Population policy refers to all those legal, administrative programmes and other government efforts which aim at reducing birth rate and improving the quality of life. After independence, the Government of India formu­lated a National Policy on Population with the objective to check the increase in birth rate and improve the standard of living of people. This policy has been revised from time to time and its scope has been widened.

Recently, the Government of India announced its New National Population Policy in 2000, which affirms its commitment towards voluntary consent of citizens while availing of reproductive health care services.


1. To achieve zero growth rate of population by 2045. 2. To reduce infant mortality rate to below 25 per thousand live births by 2014. 3. To reduce maternal mortality rate to below one per 1,000 live births. 4.

To reduce total fertility rate to 2 by 2014.


1. To meet the unfulfilled needs for basic reproductive and child health care services, supplies and infrastructure. 2.

To make school education up to age 14 free and compulsory. 3. To achieve universal immunization of children against all vaccine preventable diseases. 4.

To promote delayed marriage for girls not earlier than age 18 years of age. 5. To achieve 100 per cent deliveries by trained persons. 6. To make registration of birth, death, marriage and pregnancy compulsory.

7. To curtail spread of AIDS. 8. To achieve universal access to information for contraception. 9. To propagate vigorously the benefits of small family norms.

Strategic Themes:

The National Population Policy has identified the following strategic themes: (i) Decentralized planning and programme implementation under which the panchayats and other local bodies will plan and implement the family welfare programme. They will “think, plan and act locally and support nationally”.

(ii) Expansion of family welfare. (iii) Special provisions child health. (iv) Empowering women for improved wealth and nutrition.

(v) Special family welfare programme for urban slums, tribals and hilly people. (vi) Use of Indian medicines and homeopathy for family welfare. (vii) Research on contraceptive technology. (viii) Support for senior citizens. (ix) Increasing male participation in family welfare programme.

(x) Breezing the number of seats in the Lok Sabha at the current level of 545 which is based on the 1971 census. This is a sensitive issue as the southern states have taken a lead in population control. The population growth is higher in the North Indian states than that of the southern states. If number of seats is changed on the basis of 2001 census, then northern states with high growth rate of population will gain at least 40 more seats in the Lok Sabha on the basis of 1971 census.

12. Important Facts to Remember about India’s Population Growth: (a) In advanced countries of Europe, America and Japan, the ratio of those less than 15 years of age is between 20 and 30 per cent as against 35 per cent in India. It shows the birth rate is high in India.

(b) In India, the proportion of children, in the age group 0-6 years, has decreased from 18 per cent in 1991 to 15.1 per cent in 2001. (c) Since 2001 the percentage of working population has been improving in India. In the year 2016, it is expected that the percentage of working population (15-60 years) will increase to 64.

8 per cent and population in the age group of 0-14 years will decline to 25 per cent. (d) The birth rate in India, according to the census of 2011, is still very high in comparison to developed countries like Japan, Germany, Italy, Canada, USA, UK and Russia. It is found that birth rate in India is almost at par to China. (e) 2001-2011 is the first decade (with the exception of 1911-1921) which has actually added lesser population compared to the previous decade. (f) For 2001-2011, the decadal growth has become 17.64 per cent—a decrease of 3.

90 per cent from 21.54 per cent for the period of 1991-2001. (g) In 2011 census, Mizoram recorded the highest sex ratio in the children age group (0-6) being 971/1,000 followed by Meghalaya 970/1,000. (h) In 0-6 age group, Haryana recorded the lowest sex ratio (830/1,000), followed by Punjab 846/1,000. 13. Population and Human Well-being in India:Although the world population is still growing, it is doing so at a slower rate that demographers had projected only a few years ago. Recent major gains in average life expectancy, reduced rates of child and infant mortality and the increasing proportion of children now attending school—all provide ground for optimism about human well-being. Many of these gains have been made possible by unprecedented economic growth in many countries.

Some 3.5 to 4.5 billion people are expected to experience substantial improvements in their standard of living by the end of 2015. Yet, these global successes mask urgent, sometimes worsening problems at the local or regional level, especially among developing countries. More than one quarter of the world’s population has not shared in the economic and social progress experienced by the majority and still lives in poverty.

Hunger, disease, illiteracy and restricted freedom of choice or action are the persistent problems in many of the least developed countries of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, as well as in parts of Central Asia and South America. The pressure of population can contribute to human deprivation, especially in poor rural areas where competition for land and water can strain the capacity of local environ­ments. Rapid population growth is also fuelling problems in many cities, where it can overwhelm the capacity of municipal authorities to provide even elementary services. Yet, the interaction between population growth and human well-being is complex and not a matter of numbers alone. The capacity of countries to support growing population is enhanced when those countries achieve a sufficient, equitable distribution of wealth, technological development, effective government, strong institutions and social stability. The world population is still increasing and has now reached over 6 billion which may almost double by 2050. What are the implications of an approximately doubled population? Population growth is of most concern where countries appear least able to deal with its consequences. Key issues in providing for increased popula­tions will include the achievement of adequate income levels, food security, employment, female empowerment and the provision of basic social services.

Also critical is the sound management of natural resources that, in many developing countries, still directly supports the livelihoods of majority of inhabitants. A significant number of world’s people already face critical shortfalls of the essentials needed for a healthy life. Some 1.

3 billion live in absolute poverty, 840 million are undernourished, roughly 1.5 billion lack safe drinking water, and about one billion are illiterate. In many areas, population growth is accelerating the rate of degradation of forests, water, fisheries and productive soils. Population at direct risk from environ­mental degradation is concentrated in the least developed countries of the Sub-Sahara Africa, South Asia, and in parts of Latin America. If the future generation in the developed and the developing countries continues to use the resources at the present rate, the consequences in terms of global climatic change, loss of vital renewable resources and toxic pollution will be severe and catastrophic.