Why Population of India Does not Stop Growing?

Large and Growing Population

India will be the world champion in population by 2022 beating its nearest rival, China. Today, it is home to around 1.28 billion people and as per 2011 census it added about 180 million people in 10 years since 2001 at the rate of 1.76% per year. Keeping aside immigration from neighboring countries, the annual organic growth rate is about 1.4%. It means each morning you wake up, India has grown by 49,000 the previous day; in other words, if you eat your lunch in half an hour, the population of the country has gone up by 1025.

Fifty years ago, average number of children a woman would have during her life was over 5, today it 2.3. The rate of decline has become faster in last 5-7 years. Though the population is still increasing, the fertility rate is fast moving towards 2.1, required for population stabilization (China reached the fertility target of 2.1 two decades ago and it is currently 1.55.  Today the high fertility regime is confined to large states such as Bihar (3.4), UP (3.1), MP (2.9) and Rajasthan (2.9) but even they are showing improvement. Combined together they make up 40% of India’s population. It means rest of the 60 percent population taken together has already reached fertility rate below 2.1!

About 75% of the people live in more than 550,000 villages and the remainder 25% in about 200 towns and cities. Politically and economically, most of the development has remained confined within the quarter of the population living in the urban area. Neglect of the rural India for last sixty years is mainly responsible for the high poverty level as well as the current population size. Here, you might like to explore:

Population and Poverty, Feeding Each Other

Real Reason of Current Population Growth

The current population growth is not because women are having too many babies but because there are too many people in the reproductive age group – it is “young India”. Such a population growth is said to be driven by population momentum in the language of demographers. The following facts of “young India” provide the reason for current population growth:

Almost 40% of Indians are younger than 15 years of age;

More than 50% of Indian population is below 25; and

More than 65% people are under 35.

It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan.

Faulty Population Control Policies

The government has realised that the population battle has to be fought  on the social plain; not in the health centers or sterilization clinics. It is rightly focusing on spread of education, particularly among the girls and empowerment of women. In fact, if women have sufficient freedom they would not like to enter early in the marriage, nor would they like to get pregnant too soon. By now there is already a widespread awareness about the benefits of small family size throughout the country. What is required is to spread the availability of contraceptives and medical  care so that women don’t get pregnant too soon and can avoid births they don’t intend. In nutshell, all these measures suggest a concerted fight against the population momentum.

Target Population Momentum, Not Sterilization

The importance of momentum driven population growth increases as the fertility levels goes down. In 1994, noted demographer, John Bongaart, estimated that in the twenty-first century, population growth would be largely momentum driven and account for nearly half of world population increase. He also pointed out that the momentum driven population growth could be reduced simply by raising the average age of childbearing. He also estimated that an increase in the age at first birth by 2.5 year would reduce population growth momentum by 21%.

Applying Bongaart’s model to India, researcher Visaria concluded that about 70% population growth is due to population momentum, 24% from unwanted fertility, and the rest 6% from wanted fertility. Talking in plain language, 70% population growth is due to the fact that there are simply too people in the reproductive age. The 24% growth is due to undesired (or accidental) or unplanned pregnancies which can be attributed to lack of easy availability of contraceptives, particularly in rural areas. And only 6% population growth is due to people’s desire to have more children. Neighboring Bangladesh has achieved significant reduction in fertility, mostly through spreading the availability of contraceptives throughout the country. In 1975, the total fertility rate in Bangladesh was over 5, today it is down to 2.2.

The correct way to counter population momentum involves delaying age at marriage, postponing the first birth, and then spacing further births. In the Indian context, these steps will have a significant impact. There is widespread tradition of child marriage in some populous parts of India where even girls below 15 get married and soon become mothers. Although the legal age of girl’s marriage is 18, it is routinely flouted in many parts of the country. For detailed analysis, please read

Population Growth in India: Need to Kill Population Momentum

To counter the second biggest contributor (24%) to population growth – unwanted pregnancies – government need to strengthen its healthcare network in the rural areas where education and general awareness is rather poor. It requires equipping all the primary healthcare centers with sufficient supplies of contraceptives and making it easily available to people, particularly women. Counseling women about their reproductive health issues and the health implications of early or child marriages is another urgent requirement. If only all the unwanted pregnancies are avoided, the fertility rate would immediately fall below to around 2.0.


India has won the population battle! Its population should stabilize by 2050 at around 1.6 billion and then decline!  What is important is to now accelerate economic development to utilize population dividend. Skill development  is the way to go which is among the top priorities of Modi government.

Read Further

Population of India: What the Government should Do
Population Development: What Kerala can Teach India and China
How to Stop Global Population from Touching 9 Billion in 2050


About Goodpal

I am a firm believer in healthy people (mind and body both), healthy societies and healthy environment. Please feel free to comment, share and broadcast your views -- I like rational and intellectual discussions. Thanks for stopping by. Have a Good Day!
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11 Responses to Why Population of India Does not Stop Growing?

  1. monalisha says:

    it was useful foh ma assignment

  2. Ravi says:

    Who will teach this things to government.
    If any one has solution pls reply.

  3. praveen kumar says:

    this is very useful for student

  4. Silver says:


    • Goodpal says:

      There are many types of Idiots in the world; you mentioned just one type. poor humans and their numbers are not harmful for the planet. But the kind of idiots who are real threat to humanity and the planet are those with too much money and exploitative minds. Their racial and colonial mindset and love for wars and weapons pose a really very serious threat to the earth which sustains them. And these idiots have all the knowledge, latest technology to wage wars but live according to principles of the animal world: survival of the fittest!

    • penny says:

      you are just right.

  5. Silver says:

    Also tell the villageidiots to not have a kid if they can’t take care of it. It angers many to know that people have kids even though they know they can’t take care of them. I know this is not only a problem in india but they need to here this cuz they already outta hand with the population!!!!!!!

  6. Goodpal says:

    Kindly tell the literate idiots of the US and the West to treat the Blacks and other ethnic groups with dignity and care. Also tell them that the world is very angry at their incompetence and lack of political will to handle global warming and efforts to colonize the poor nations under the garb of globalization.

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