(Sample Material) IAS Mains Sociology (Optional) Study Kit "Population Dynamics"

Sample Material of Our IAS Mains Sociology Study Kit

Subject: Sociology (Optional)

Topic: Population Dynamics

Population - Size, Growth, Composition And Distribution

Population explosion is causing great concern not only in India, but all over the world, to all the countries. In spite of the fact that every government is making all serious efforts to check population increase, yet in most of the states, success has excluded efforts. All population projects have shown that world population is on the increase. For this, of course, several causes are responsible, most important being that whereas mortality rate has been checked by providing better medical and health facilities, fertility rate has not been checked. Of course, increasing population when it does not keep pace with increased production, denies the benefits of even increased industrial and economic development and it appears as if the nation has reached a point of stagnancy.

In most of the societies increase in birth rate of both the sexes is almost equal. According to available figures total world population of both the sexes, in 2000 A.D. was 6494 millions, as against 3635 millions of 1970.

Death And Mortality

Like fertility, mortality too has its many social consequences. In the past when medical facilities were not available in many societies, death rate or in other words mortality rate was very high. Most of the women died at the time of delivery of the child. In very many cases death occurred because there was no proper diagnosis. Though mortality rate in advanced countries has come down in most of the developing countries it is being brought down and has been much controlled. Usually however it is found that mortality among both the sexes is not the same. It is higher among men as compared with women, though in some countries reverse too is the case. Deaths have usually relevance with pressure and exposure.

Those who are under more pressures and are more exposed to the outside work are likely to die quicker than the others. Mortality is linked with occupation, community situation, mental status and cleanliness as well. It has quite often been observed that those who are engaged in less hazardous jobs have less chances of deaths as compared with those who are engaged in risky jobs. Similarly people in rural communities live longer as compared with the people in urban communities. Mortality rate among clean people is less than what it is among dirty and unclean people who do not observe health norms.

As regards India, for a very long time the country was known for its high mortality rate.

Death rate in the country was very high. It was because:

(i) Most of the people lived a life of poverty. They did not get sufficient food to maintain themselves, less to talk of nutritive food.
(ii) Medical facilities even in the urban areas were inadequate. These did not reach the rural areas at all.
(iii) The people, particularly in the rural areas, were not very health conscious. They had no health education and were ignorant of the importance of the health.
(iv) The married couple did not realise that their health deteriorated with the number of children.
(v) Child and infant mortality rate was very high, because the parents could not afford good diet for their children.
(vi) Medical facilities in the country were very costly and only a few rich could afford that.
(vi) Medical facilities in the country were lacking and thus a doctor could not attend to his patients even if brought in time in the hospital.

Social Effects Of Mortality

Mortality has its social effects. Mortality rate affects character of religion. Those societies where death rate is high begin to accept the supreme power of God. They therefore begin to have more faith in religion. As we know in India death and birth is attributed to God and that man has no hand in it. In India and everywhere this rate effects family structure.

When mortality rate is high there is great love for children. In India the families with one or two children are supposed to much more love their children than others. Since mortality rate in India continues to be high the people have weaker orientation towards the future and stronger orientation towards the present. This position might reverse when mortality rate comes down. The social effect is that when mortality rate is high obviously parents hesitate to make sacrifices for the future development and growth of children because the rewards are uncertain.

Mortality in India is also affecting fertility. Since each family wants to have children and as one child dies, efforts are made to have another child and thus fertility increases. With increase in fertility, health of the parents comes down and pressure on existing medical and other facilities etc. increases.

In case it is desired that in India, society should be happy and healthy, both mortality and fertility rate should be brought under control. If that does not happen both our society and culture will have different shape. Such a check if not uniformally applied to all religious communties may not bring the desired results in the near future and whole socio-cultural phase of the society may change.

Size And Growth Of Population In India

The size and growth of population are two important components of the demographic phenomena in a developing country like India. These have severe implications on the social and economic spheres of our life. Hence, let us begin with a discussion on the size and growth of the population and its socio-economic implications.

India is the second most populous country in the world, ranking only, after China. In the last Census, taken in 2001, the population of India was found to be 103 crores; 18 crores of people were added to the population since the last Census taken in 1991. This means that more than around 1.8 crores of persons are added to India every year. This is more than the population of Australia. India’s population has more than doubled since Independence. In the first post-Independence Census, taken in 1951, the population stood at 36 crores, with an average annual growth rate of 1.25 per cent for the decade 1941-51. However, the average annual growth rate for 1991-2001 was 2.1 per cent and the decadal growth rate was 21.32 per cent.

Determinants Of Population Change

Three factors determine the change in the size of the population of any country: how many

persons are born, how many persons die, and how many persons are added to the population after considering the number of persons leaving the country and the number of persons coming into the country. The last of these factors, that is, migration does not play a large role in determining population growth in the Indian context. It, therefore, becomes necessary to consider in greater detail the other two factors, that is, fertility and mortality.

Implications Of The Size And Growth Of Population

The size of the population of India is itself staggering, and it is growing at a high rate. Despite intensive efforts through development programmes, the achievements have not been able to keep pace with the needs of the growing population.
The per capita production of foodgrains has increased over the years, but the per capita increase has been only marginal because of the high growth rate of the population. The housing shortage has also been increasing over the years. The norms for the health and medical services have not been met. The upward trend in the gross and net national product is not reflected in the per capita income to the same extent. The situation related to unemployment and underemployment reflects the inability of the employment market to absorb the pressures of increasingly large labour force. The growth rate of the population may not appear to be too high. Yet when applied to a large base population, the addition to the population is quite staggering.


Fertility is an important determinant of population growth. In this section, we shall discuss the measurement, levels and trends and implications of high fertility.

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