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
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
(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
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
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