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Population growth & Process of Population change in India

Population growth & Process of Population change in India

  • Population is a dynamic phenomenon. The numbers, distribution and composition of the population are constantly changing.
  • This is the influence of the interaction of the three processes, namely-births, deaths and migrations.

Population Growth

  • Growth of population refers to the change in the number of inhabitants of a country/territory during a specific period of time, say during the last ten years.
  • Such a change can be expressed in two ways: in terms of absolute numbers and in terms of percentage change per year.                            Population growth & Process of Population change in India
  • The absolute numbers added each year or decade is the magnitude of increase.
  • It is obtained by simply subtracting the earlier population (e.g. that of 1991) from the later population (e.g. that of 2001).
  • It is referred to as the absolute increase. The rate or the pace of population increase is the other important aspect.
  • It is studied in per cent per annum, e.g. a rate of increase of 2 per cent per annum means that in a given year, there was an increase of two persons for every 100 persons in the base population, referred to as the annual growth rate. India’s population has been steadily increasing from 361 million in 1951 to 1028 million in 2001.
  • Since 1981, however, the rate of growth started declining gradually. During this period, birth rates declined rapidly.  Still 182 million people were added to the total population in the 1990s alone (an annual addition larger than ever before). It is essential to realise that India has a very large population.
  • When a low annual rate is applied to a very large population, it yields a large absolute increase.
  • When more than a billion people increase even at a lower rate, the total numbers being added becomes very large.
  • India’s current annual increase in population of 15.5 million is large enough to neutralise efforts to conserve the resource endowment and environment. 
  • The declining trend of the growth rate is indeed a positive indicator of the efforts of birth control.
  • Despite that, the total additions to the population base continue to grow, and India may overtake China in 2045 to become the most populous country in the world.

Processes of Population Change/Growth

  • There are three main processes of change of population: birth rates, death rates and migration. 
  • The natural increase of population is the difference between birth rates and death rates.

Birth Rates and Death Rates

  • Birth rate 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.
  • Death rate is the number of deaths per thousand persons in a year.
  • The main cause of the rate of growth of the Indian population has been the rapid decline in death rates.
  • Till 1980, high birth rates and declining death rates led to a large difference between birth rates and death rates resulting in higher rates of population growth.
  • Since 1981, birth rates have also started declining gradually, resulting in a gradual decline in the rate of population growth.                              Population growth & Process of Population change in India

The third component of population growth is MIGRATION: 

  • Migration is the movement of people across regions and territories. Migration can be internal (within the country) or international (between the countries).
  • Internal migration does not change the size of the population, but influences the distribution of population within the nation. 
  • Migration plays a very significant role in changing the composition and distribution of population.
  • In India, most migrations have been from rural to urban areas because of the “push” factor in rural areas.
  • These 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.
  • Migration is an important determinant of population change. It changes not only the population size but also the population composition of urban and rural populations in terms of age and sex composition. 
  • In India, the rural-urban migration has resulted in a steady increase in the percentage of population in cities and towns.
  • The urban population has increased from 17.29 per cent of the total population in 1951 to 27.78 per cent in 2001.There has been a significant increase in the number of ‘million plus cities’ from 23 to 35 in just one decade i.e.1991 to 2001.              Population growth & Process of Population change in India



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