Essay on Global Population Trends

Growth Rate is faster in the Developing Countries:

About three fourths of the world population lives in the developing countries. The UNO has estimated that world’s population grew at an annual rate of 1.4% during 1990-2000. But China registered a much lower annual growth rate of population [that is, 1%] during 1999-2000, as compared to India [1.93%]. In fact, the growth rate of China is now very much comparable to that of USA [0.9%].

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India, Indonesia and Bangladesh, the three countries of the South-East Asia Region [SEAR], are recognised among the most populous 10 countries of the world. According to UN projections, India’s population will reach 1.53 billion by the year 2050, and that will be the highest population in the world. The trend of population increase in the SEAR countries is shown in

Trends in Increase of Population of South East Asia Region (SEAR) Countries (In thousands)

Country198520002005 (Projected)
India79794010089371082184
Bangladesh99310137439139911
Bhutan145120852313
DPR Korea189422226825416
Indonesia167332212092226938
Maldives184291355
Myanmar375444774953479
Nepal165032304327439
Sri Lanka160601892419858
Thailand511286280662612
Total117639415356341640505

Growth Rate of World Population:

The growth rate is not uniform in the world. There are many countries in the world [Ex, European countries] where the growth rate is less than 0.5 per cent per year. In developing countries, the growth rates are excessive – it is around 2.8 per cent in Africa, 1.5 per cent in Latin America, 0.5 in Europe and 1.9 percent in Asia.

A population growing at 0.5 per cent per year will double in about 140 years; a population growing at 3 per cent per year will double in 20-25 years. These differences in growth rates are largely the result of fertility and mortality patterns.

Salient Features of World Population Growth:

The salient features of the world population growth at a glance are as follows:

(i) Approximately 95 per cent of this growth is occurring in developing countries.

(ii) Currently, one third of the world’s population is under the age of 15 and will soon enter the reproductive bracket, giving more potential for population growth.

(iii) The UNFPA estimates that world population is most likely to nearly double to 10 billion people in 2050, peaking at 11.6 billion reaching 20.7 billion a century later.

(iv) The expected number of births per women, at current fertility rate, is : Africa 6.1; Asia, 3.2; Latin America 3.4; North America 2.0; Europe 1.6.

(v) World population is currently growing at 176 people per minute; 10,564 people per hour; 253,542 people per day; and 92,543,000 people per year.

The world population is indeed, increasing at an alarming rate. This speedy growth of population is one of the greatest obstacles to the economic and social advancement of the majority of people in the underdeveloped world.

Is India Over – Populated?

India has a vast population, that is, 121.02 crore in 2011. With a huge population of 121 crore [April 1st 2011] India is the second most populous country in the world, next only to China, whereas seventh in land area. With only 2.4 per cent of the world’s land area, India is supporting about 17.5 percent of the world’s population. The population of India since 1901 is shown in. In 2001, India accounted for 19.96% of the estimated population of developing countries.

Population Itself is Not a Problem:

Population, if manageable and efficient, is an asset to any country. It is the index of its inner strength. It leads to a better and fuller exploitation of its natural resources. But if it becomes unmanageable, it eats into the vitals of the nation and becomes an evil.

A large size of population by itself must not be confused with overpopulation. A country is over-populated or under-populated in relation to its area, resources, and their utilisation.

At the present stage of her economic development, there is little doubt that India is over-populated. India’s population is about one-fifth of the total world population. Population has become a socio­economic problem for India. The following facts would fortify this.

Population Explosion in India:

India is the 2nd most populous country in the world. Its population has been steadily increasing since 1921. Having crossed the mark of 121.02 crore in 2011 A.D., India’s population is currently increasing at the rate of 18.15 million each year and its annual growth rate is 1.76% as per 2011 census report. India’s population is consistently increasing in all the States. State-wise break-up of India’s population along with variation in sex-ratio.

Alarming growth of population has become one of the most formidable problems of India today. Massive population is seriously threatening our economic development. Tables 3-4 make clear the abnormal growth of population which is, indeed, the population explosion.

India’s population numbered 238 million in 1901, doubled in 60 years to 439 million [1961]; doubled again, this time in only 30 years to reach 846 million by 1991. India’s population was projected to cross 1 billion mark on 11 May 2000, and to reach 1.53 billion by the year 2050. This will then make India the most populous country in the world, surpassing China.

Some Important Aspects of the Growth of Indian Population:

1. As per the 1991 census, India’s population was 844 million, and it increased to 1027 millions in 2001, and to 1070.3 million [107.3 crore] in 2004, and 121.02 crore in 2011.

2. The land area of the country is only 2.4% of the total land area of the world. But its population is about 17.5% of the total population of the world as per 2011 census.

3. At the present rate of growth, India is adding every 10 years a number of people more than double the total population of the U.K., or equal to the entire population of Pakistan or Brazil or more than the half the population of the USA or of the USSR.

4. India is just two-fifth of the USA, but India’s population is more than 2 and a half times the population of the USA and USSR put together.

5. India’s population is equal to the total population of 55 countries of Africa and Latin America.

6. India’s present population [121.02 crore] is equal to the combined population of USA, Indonesia, Japan, Brazil, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

7. In India today, 30 babies are born every minute, 55,000 babies are born every day and about 13 million babies are born every year as per 2001 census.

8. India, it is remarked, adds one Australia [that is the population of Australia] to its population every year.

The Reality of Population Explosion:

It is clear from Table – 3 that the population of India has increased by 21.5% during the decade 1951 -1961, by 24.8% during the decade 1961 -1971, by 24.8% during the decade of 1971 -1981, by 23.5% during the decade of 1981-1991, by 18.5% between 1991-2001 and by 17.64 in 2011. It shows that the increase in population of India was rather slow upto 1921.

The year 1921 is called “the year of the great divide” as the growth rate after this has been very sharp. After 1911-21, the decade between 2001 -2011 is the first decade to witness a reduction in the rate of population growth.

This reduction, however, is only marginal. Hence the rate of growth of population as well as the size of the population of India is definitely very high. On the basis of the rate of growth and the size of population, one can certainly say that there is population explosion in India.

Tests of Over-Population:

The following test makes it evident that India is over-populated:

1. The rate of population growth in India is abnormally high, that is 1.76% per annum according to 2011 census report.

2. The rapid increase in population is eating away the fruits of the Five-Year Plans.

3. Per capita income of India is extremely low in comparison with that of many other countries.

4. The country is not able to provide for the minimum requirements of its people for the population is too large and the production too less.

5. Population growth has created problems such as unemployment, illiteracy, poverty, beggary, housing problem, ill-health, etc., which are not met with.

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