Chapter: 6

What are Population ?

Size And Distribution

  • India’s population as on March 2011 stood at 1,210.6 million, which account for 17.5 per cent of the world’s population. July 2021 India population projected 1393.4 million.
  • Uttar Pradesh accounts for about 16 per cent of the country’s population. On the other hand, the Himalayan state of Sikkim has a population of just about 0.6 million and Lakshadweep has only 64,429 people.
  • Almost half of India’s population lives in just five states. These are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.

India’s Population Distribution By Density

  • Population density is calculated as the number of people per unit area.
  • The population density of India in the year 2011 was 382 persons per sq km.
  • Densities vary from 1,102 persons per sq km in Bihar to only 17 persons per sq km in Arunachal Pradesh.

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 10 years.

• The change can be expressed in two ways

(a) In terms of absolute numbers

(b) In terms of percentage change per year

Processes of Population Change/Growth

Birth rate is the number of live births per thousand
persons in a year.

Death rate is the number of deaths per thousand
persons in a year.

Migration is the movement of people across regions and territories. Migration can be internal (within the country) or international (between the countries).

Age Composition

  • The age composition of a population refers to the number of people in different age groups in a country.
  • Children (generally below 15 years): They are economically unproductive and need to be provided with food, clothing, education and medical care.
  • Working Age (15–59 years): They are economically productive and biologically reproductive.
  • Aged (Above 59 years): They can be economically productive though they may have retired. They may be working voluntarily but they are not available for employment through recruitment.

Literacy Rates

The literacy rate in the country as per the Census of 2011 is 73 per cent; 80.9 per cent for males and 64.6 per cent for females.

Occupational Structure

The percentage of population that is economically active is an important index of development. The distribution of the population according to different types of occupation is referred to as the occupational structure.


  • Health is an important component of population composition, which affects the process of development.
  • Sustained efforts of government programmes have registered significant improvements in the health conditions of the Indian population. Death rates have declined from 25 per 1000 population in 1951 to 7.2 per 1000 in 2011 and life expectancy at birth has increased from 36.7 years in 1951 to 67.9 years in 2012.

Adolescent Population

The most significant feature of the Indian population is the size of its adolescent population. It constitutes one-fifth of the total population of India. Adolescents are, generally, grouped in the age group of 10 to 19 years. They are the most important resource for the future.

National Population Policy

  • Recognising that the planning of families would improve individual health and welfare, the Government of India initiated a comprehensive Family Planning Programme in 1952.

• The Family Welfare Programme has sought to promote responsible and planned parenthood on a voluntary basis.

• The National Population Policy (NPP) 2000 is a culmination of years of planned efforts.

Sex Ratio

Sex ratio is defined as the number of females per 1000 males in the population.