If you are preparing for the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) exam and are interested in studying the population topic, there are several key areas that you should focus on. Here is a more detailed list of things you may want to study, with a focus on understanding the key concepts and issues related to population:
- Population dynamics: This includes understanding factors that affect population size and distribution, such as fertility rates, mortality rates, and migration patterns. You should be familiar with the different measures used to calculate population growth, such as the crude birth rate, crude death rate, and net reproduction rate. You should also understand how these rates vary across different countries and regions, and how they are influenced by various socio-economic and demographic factors.
- Population growth: You should understand the causes and consequences of population growth, including the environmental and social impacts. This includes studying the factors that contribute to population growth, such as high fertility rates and declining mortality rates, as well as the consequences of rapid population growth, such as strain on natural resources and infrastructure, and the potential for social and economic instability.
- Demographic transition: This refers to the changes in population structure that occur as a country develops economically. You should understand the different stages of demographic transition and their implications for population growth and development. This includes studying the shift from high fertility and high mortality rates in pre-industrial societies, to low fertility and low mortality rates in developed societies. You should also be familiar with the concept of the “demographic dividend,” which refers to the potential economic benefits that can arise from a country’s changing age structure.
- Population policies: This includes understanding the different population policies that have been implemented by governments around the world, and their impact on population growth and development. This includes studying policies that aim to control population size, such as China’s one-child policy, as well as policies that aim to promote sustainable population growth, such as family planning programs. You should also be familiar with the ethical and human rights considerations that can arise in the context of population policies.
- Population and development: You should understand the link between population and development, and the role that population plays in shaping a country’s economic, social, and environmental outcomes. This includes studying the ways in which population growth can affect a country’s economic development, such as through the availability of labor and the demand for goods and services. You should also be familiar with the role that population plays in social development, including the impact of population growth on education, healthcare, and other social services.
- Population and environment: You should also understand the relationship between population and the environment, including the impact of population growth on natural resources and the environment. This includes studying the ways in which population growth can lead to environmental degradation, such as through the increased demand for natural resources, and the potential negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem health. You should also be familiar with the various strategies that can be used to mitigate these negative impacts, such as through sustainable resource use and population management.
In addition to these specific areas, you should also be familiar with current population trends and issues, such as urbanization, aging populations, and the impact of population on climate change. You should also be aware of the various approaches that have been used to address these trends and issues, and the successes and challenges that have arisen in implementing these approaches.
Since its independence, India’s population structure has seen a profound transformation. It has had a population expansion (Census of 1951) and a drop in its total fertility rate.
On the good side, there have been improvements in a number of mortality statistics, but there are also obstacles to realising the demographic dividend in terms of enhancing living conditions, providing training, and creating jobs.
India’s enormous population is one of its potential advantages over the rest of the globe. To maximise the demographic dividend’s potential, it is necessary to take the necessary actions in the proper direction.
What demographic shifts has India experienced throughout time?
Population Growth: The UN World Population Prospects (WPP), 2022, projects that India will surpass China and become the most populated nation by 2023, with a population of 140 crore. India has 17.5% of the world’s population at now.
This is four times India’s population in 1947, when it gained independence (34 crore).
India’s population is expected to reach 150 million by 2030 and 166 million by 2050.
In 2021, India’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) fell below the replacement level fertility (which is 2.1 children per woman) and reached two. India’s TFR in the 1950s, post-independence, was six.
Several states, except Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Manipur, and Meghalaya, have attained a TFR of two.
High levels of illiteracy, rampant child marriage, high under-five mortality rates, low female labour force participation, poor contraceptive use, and a lack of economic and political influence among women are the primary culprits.
Life expectancy at birth had a significant rise from 32 years in 1947 to 70 years in 2019 as a result of the improvement in mortality indicators.
The infant mortality rate for the major states decreased from 133 in 1951 to 27 in 2020.
In 2019, the infant mortality rate has decreased from 250 to 41, while the maternal mortality ratio has decreased from 2,000 in the 1940s to 103 in 2019.
What Importance Does Population Growth Play?
A bigger population is believed to result in increased human capital, stronger economic growth, and higher living standards.
Enhanced economic growth is the result of an increase in economic activity brought about by a larger population of working age and a smaller dependent population.
In the past seven decades, the proportion of the population that is of working age has increased from 50% to 65%, resulting in a notable drop in the dependence ratio (number of children and elderly persons per working age population).
According to the WPP 2022, India would have one of the world’s biggest labour forces.
In the next 25 years, one in five people of working age will reside in India.
What are the Obstacles to Profiting from the Demographic Dividend?
Concerns about the Workforce: Only one-fourth of women in India are working, which constrains the country’s labour force.
The level of educational attainments is subpar, and the workforce lacks the fundamental skills necessary for the modernised job market.
India will have the greatest population, yet it has one of the lowest employment rates.
The Sex Ratio Remains Disappointing: The male-to-female ratio is an additional demographic worry for independent India.
In 1951, the country had 946 females for every 1,000 males.
In 2011, the sex ratio was 943 females per 1,000 males, and it is anticipated that by 2022, the ratio would be roughly 950 females per 1,000 males.
Even now, one of every three girls missing globally owing to sex selection (both prenatal and postnatal) is an Indian.
Hunger: In India, every other woman of reproductive age is anaemic, and every third kid under the age of five is stunted.
India ranks 101 out of 116 countries on the Global Hunger Index, which is somewhat discouraging for a nation with one of the most extensive food security programmes, including the Public Distribution System and the Midday Meals Scheme.
Health Disease Burden: Almost the past seventy-five years, there has been a dramatic shift in the country’s illness pattern: while India fought communicable diseases following independence, there has been a switch towards non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the cause of over 62% of all fatalities.
Since the 1990s, the proportion of noncommunicable diseases in India has nearly doubled, making it the country with the highest illness burden globally.
Diabetes affects about eight crore individuals in India.
India alone accounts for more than a quarter of all fatalities caused by air pollution worldwide.
The healthcare infrastructure in India is likewise extremely insufficient and ineffective. Moreover, India’s public health funding is low, ranging from 1% to 1.5% of GDP, which is among the lowest percentages in the world.