|☛ The people make and use resources and are themselves resources of varying quality.
☛ Human beings are producers and consumers of Earth’s resources, therefore, it is important to know how many people are there in a country, where do they live, how and why their numbers are increasing and what are their characteristics.
☛ The Census of India provides us with information regarding the population of our country.
- 1 India’s Population Size and Distribution by Numbers
- 2 India’s Population Distribution by Density
- 3 Population Growth
- 4 Process of Population Change/Growth
- 5 Age Composition
- 6 Sex Ratio
- 7 Literacy Rate
- 8 Occupational Structure
- 9 Health
- 10 Adolescent Population
- 11 National Population Policy 2000 (NPP 2000)
- 12 NPP 2000 and Adolescents
India’s Population Size and Distribution by Numbers
(i) India’s population as on March, 2001 stood at 1,028 million, which account for 16.7 % of the world’s population.
(ii) These 1.028 billion people are unevenly distributed over our country’s vast area of 3.28 million square km, which accounts for 2.4% of the world’s area.
(iii) The 2001 Census data reveals that Uttar Pradesh with population of size of 166 million people is the most populous state of India. Uttar Pradesh accounts for about 16% of the country’s population.
(iv) On the other hand, the Himalayan state of Sikkim has a population of just about 0.5 million and Lakshadweep has only 60 thousand people.
(v) Almost half of India’s population lives in just five states.These are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, and Andhra Pradesh. Rajasthan, the biggest state in terms of area, has only 5.5% of the total population of India.
The Major Questions We are Concerned With
(i) Population size and distribution : How many people are there and where are they located?
(ii) Population growth and process of population change: How has the population grown and changed through time?
(iii) Characteristics or qualities of the population: What are their age, sex-composition, literacy levels, occupational structure and health conditions?
India’s Population Distribution by Density
(i) Population density provides a better picture of the uneven distribution. Population density is calculated as the number of persons per unit area.
(ii) India is one of the most densely populated countries of the world.
(iii) The population density of India in the year 2001 was 324 persons per sq km. It varies from 904 in Paschim BangaL to 13 in Arunachal Pradesh.
(iv) Assam and most of the peninsular states have moderate population densities. Hilly, dissected and rocky nature of the terrain, moderate to low rainfall, shallow and less fertile soils have influenced population densities in these areas.
(v) The northern plains and Kerala in the south have high to very high population densities because of the flat plains with fertile soil and abundant rainfall.
(i) Population is a dynamic phenomenon.
(ii) The numbers, distribution and composition of the population are constantly changing.
(iii) This is the influence of the interaction of the three processes, namely births, deaths and migrations.
(iv) Growth of population refers to the change in the number of inhabitants of a country or territory during a specific period of time.
(v) Such a change can be expressed in two ways: in terms of absolute numbers and in terms of percentage per year.
(vi) The absolute number added each year or decade is the magnitude of increase.
(vii) It is calculated by subtracting the earlier population from the later population. This is referred to as the annual or decadal growth rate.
(viii) The annual rate of population growth was steadily increasing between 1951 and 1981, which explains the rapid increase in population during this period, during this period.
(ix) Since 1981, however, the growth rate started declining gradually. Still 182 million people were added to the total population in the 1990s alone.
(x) India’s current annual increase in population of 15.5 million is large enough to neutralise efforts to conserve the resources already available as well as the environment.
(xi) The declining trend of growth rate is a positive indication of the efforts of birth control measures. Despite this, the total additions to the population base continue to grow.
Process of Population Change/Growth
There are three main processes of change of population : birth rates, death rates and migration.
(i) Birth Rate : It is the number of live births per thousand persons in a year. It is a major component of growth because in India, birth rates have always been higher than death rates.
(ii) Death Rate: Death rate is the number of deaths per thousand persons in a year. The major cause of the rate of growth of the Indian population has been the rapid decline in death rates due to improvement in medical facilities.
The natural increase of population is the difference between birth rates and death rates.
(a) The third component of population growth is migration.
(b) Migration is the movement of people across regions and territories.
(c) Migration can be internal (within the country) or external (between different countries).
(d) Internal migration does not change the size of the population in a country, but influences
distribution of population within the nation.
(e) Migration plays a very significant role in changing the composition and distribution of population.
(f) In India, most migrations have been from rural to urban areas because of the ‘push’ factor in rural areas.
(g) Push’ factors are adverse conditions of poverty and unemployment in the rural areas and the pull’ of the city in terms of increased employment opportunities and better living conditions.
(h) Migration not only changes the population size but also the population composition of urban and rural populations in terms of age and sex composition.
(i) In India, the rural-urban migration has led to an increase in the urban population from 17.29% in 1951 to 27.78% in 2001.
(i) The age composition of a population refers to the number of people in different age groups in a country.
(ii) The population of a nation is generally grouped into 3 broad categories.
(a) Children (generally below 15 years) They are economically unproductive and need to be provided with food, clothing, education and medical care.
(b) Working Age (15-59 years) They are economically productive and biological by reproductive. They comprise the working population.
(c) Aged (above 59 years) They can be economically productive though they may have retired. They may be working voluntarily but they are not available for employment through recruitment.
The percentage of children and the aged affect the dependency ratio because these groups are not productive.
(i) Sex ratio is defined as the number of females per 1000 males in the population. This information is an important social indicator to measure the extent of equality between
males and females in the society at a given time.
(ii) The sex ratio in the country has always remained unfavourable to females.
(iii) Kerala had a sex ratio of 1058 females per 1000 males whereas Delhi has only 821 females per 1000 males in 2001.
(i) Literacy is a very important quality of a population. Only an informed and educated citizen can make intelligent choices and undertake research and development projects.
(ii) Low levels of literacy are a serious obstacle for economic improvement.
(iii) According to the census of 2001, a person aged 7 years and above who can read and write with understanding in any language is treated as literate.
(iv) There has been a steady improvement in the literacy levels in India.
(v) The literacy rate in the country as per the census of 2001 is 64.84% (75.26% for males and 53.67% for females).
(i) The percentage of population that is economically active is an important index of development.
(ii) The distribution of the population according to different types of occupations is referred to as the occupational structure.
(iii) An enormous variety of occupations are found in any country.
(iv) Occupations are generally classified as primary, secondary and tertiary.
(v) Primary activities include agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, fishing, mining and quarrying, etc.
(vi) Secondary activities include manufacturing industry, building and construction work, etc.
(vii) Tertiary activities include transport, communication, commerce, administration and other services.
(viii) The proportion of people working in different activities varies in developed and developing countries.
(ix) Developed nations have a high proportion of people in secondary and tertiary activities.
(x) Developing countries tend to have a higher portion of their work force engaged in primary activities.
(xi) In India about 64% of the population is engaged only in agriculture.
(xii) The proportion of population dependent on secondary and tertiary sectors is about 13 and 20% respectively.
(xiii) There has been an occupational shift in favour of secondary and tertiary sectors because of growing industrialisation and urbanisation in recent times.
(i) Health is an important component of population composition which affects the process of development.
(ii) Sustained government programmes have led to significant improvements in health condition of the Indian population.
(iii) Improvement in health has been due to improvement in public health, prevention of infectious diseases and application of modern medical practices in diagnosis and treatment of ailments.
(iv) The per capita calorie consumption is much below the recommended levels and malnutrition affects a large percentage of our population.
(v) Safe drinking water and basic sanitation amenities are available to only 1/3rd of the rural population.
(i) The most significant feature of the Indian population is the size of its adolescent population.
(ii) It constitutes 1/5th of the total population of India.
(iii) Adolescents are generally grouped in the age group of 10-19 years. They are the most important resources for the future.
(iv) Nutrition requirements of adolescents are higher than those of a normal child or adult.
(v) Poor nutrition can lead to deficiency and stunted growth. But in India, the diet available to adolescents is inadequate in all nutrients.
(vi) A large number of adolescents girls suffer from anaemia. The adolescent girls have to be sensitised to the problems they confront.
(vii) Their awareness can be improved through the spread of literacy and education among them.
National Population Policy 2000 (NPP 2000)
(i) The Government of India initiated the comprehensive Family Planning Programme in 1952.
(ii) The Family Welfare Programme has sought to promote responsible and planned parenthood on a voluntary basis.
(iii) The NPP 2000 provides a policy framework for imparting free and compulsory school education up to 14 years of age.
(iv) It envisages reducing infant mortality rate below 30 per 1000 live births.
(v) It also includes achieving universal immunisation of children against all vaccine preventable diseases, promoting delayed marriage for girls and making family welfare a people-centered programme.
NPP 2000 and Adolescents
(i) NPP 2000 identified adolescents as one of the major sections of the population that need greater attention.
(ii) Besides concentrating on nutritional requirements, the policy put emphasis on other important needs of adolescents including protection from unwanted pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD).
(iii) It called for programmes that aim towards encouraging delayed marriage and child bearing, education of adolescents about the risks of unprotected sex, for making contraceptive services accessible and affordable, providing food supplements, nutritional services and strengthening legal measures to prevent child marriages.
(iv) A well educated healthy population provides potential power.