India's Population Growth

Topics: Demography, Population, Population growth Pages: 40 (13655 words) Published: October 22, 2012

The world experienced dramatic population growth during the twentieth century, with the number of inhabitants doubling from 3 to 6 billion between 1960 and 2000. India, too, saw very rapid population growth during this period – from 448 million to 1.04 billion – and to 1.21 billion in 2010. The effects of past and projected future demographic change on economic growth in India is the main focus of this chapter. Figure 1 plots world population from 1950 to 2050, and shows the share of world population attributable to India; post-2010 data are United Nations (UN) projections.

Global population grew at roughly 2% per annum from 1960-2000, a level that is unsustainable in the long term, as it translates into population doubling every 35 years. India’s population is currently growing at a rate of 1.4% per year, far surpassing China’s rate of 0.7%. The differential between India and China will result in India surpassing China with respect to population size in less than 20 years. While a cause for concern, global population growth has not met Malthus’ pessimistic predictions of human misery and mass mortality. During the past few decades, rapid population growth has been accompanied by an unparalleled decline in mortality rates and by an increase in income per capita, both globally and in India.

In 1901 the world population was 1.6 billion. By 1960, it became 3 billion, and by 1987, 5 billion and in 1999, 6 billion. Currently, one billion people are added every 12 - 13 years. During the last decade there has been substantial decline in birth rate. The reasons for decline vary from society to society; urbanization, rising educational attainment, increasing employment among women, lower infant mortality are some major factors responsible for growing desire for smaller families; increasing awareness and improved access to contraception have made it possible for the majority of the couple to achieve the desired family size. In some countries slowing of the population growth has been due to an increase in mortality (e.g. HIV related mortality in sub-saharan Africa). As a result of all these the decline in the global population growth during the nineties is steeper than the earlier predictions. Currently, the annual increment is about 80 million. It is expected to decrease to about 64 million by 2020 -25 and to 33 million by 2045 -50; 95 % of the growth of population occurs in developing countries. Most demographers believe that the current accelerated decline in population growth will continue for the next few decades and the medium projections of Population Division of United Nations, that the global population will grow to 8.9 billion by 2050 is likely to be achieved (Figure 1)


The Technical Group on Population Projections set up by the National Commission on Population has recently come out with population projections for India and states. As per this report, India’s population is expected to reach 1.2 billion by 2011 and 1.4 billion by 2006 (see Table 5). According to this projection, population would grow by 1.4 percent during the Eleventh Five-Year Plan period (more precisely during 2006-11). Even by 2021-26, the population is expected to have a growth rate of 0.9 percent (see Table 6). An important assumption underlying this projection is that the total fertility rate would reach replacement level (approximately 2.1) only by 2021. The reason behind this gloomy expectation is the slow pace of fertility transition in several large, north Indian states. In fact, according the Technical Group, TFR would not reach the replacement level in some of these states even by 2031. Although the Technical Group did not carry forward the projection till the date of...
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