top of page
Rise of Socialism and Russian Revolution.jpg

CBSE Notes | Class 9 | Social Science | Geography Chapter 6 - Population of India

The chapter notes will help you understand population size and distribution, population growth and processes of population change, and at the end, characteristics of the population. You will also learn about India's population policy and key indicators that characterise Indian population.

Size and Distribution of the Population

A country's most valuable resource is its people. A nation with a well-educated and healthy population has the potential to be powerful. People are critical to the development of the economy and society because they create and use resources. People are a resource in and of themselves, with varying qualities.

The three major aspects about population which help us understand it are as follows:

1. Size and distribution of population : It refers to the total number of people in the country and where they are located.

2. Population growth and process of population change:  It refers to how the population has grown and changes in its composition.

3. Characteristics of qualifies of life population It refers to age, sex-ratio, literacy levels, occupational structure, health conditions of people.

What is a census?

A census is a periodic official enumeration (counting) of the population. In 1872, India conducted its first (partial) census. In 1881, the first complete census was conducted. It is carried out every ten years. In 2011, a census was conducted. The Indian census provides information on the population.

India's Population by Numbers

According to the last census in 2011, India had a population of 121 crore people, accounting for 17.5 percent of the world's population. It is now estimated to have more than 130 crore people.

  • Uttar Pradesh is India's most populous state, accounting for approximately 16% of the country's population.

  • Sikkim has the lowest population for a state in India

  • Nearly half of India's population is concentrated in only five states: Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh.

  • The biggest state Rajasthan has only 6 % of India’s population.

Class 9 French Reolution - A Society of Estates.jpg

What is Population Density?

Population Density is defined as the number of people living in a given area. It is numerically defined as number of people living per km².

India's Population Density Distribution

India had a population density of 382 people per square kilometre in 2011. It is estimated to be 484 per km² at present. It is the third most populous country in the world, after Bangladesh and Japan.

The population density of the various states provides a better indication of the uneven population distribution. As per 2011 census:

  • Bihar has the highest density at 1102 people per km2 followed by West Bengal at 1029 people per km²

  • Arunachal Pradesh has the lowest at only 17 people per km²

The country can be divided into three regions based on population density.

1. States with a high population density are defined by flat plains with fertile soils and abundant rainfall, such as the Northern Plains and Kerala.

2. States with a moderate population density: These states are defined by their hilly and rocky terrain, moderate to low rainfall, and shallow and less fertile soil. For example, Assam and the majority of peninsular states.

3. States with a population density of less than 250 people per km2 are characterised by rugged terrain (mountainous and desert) and unfavourable climatic conditions, such as Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Jammu and Kashmir.

Population Growth and Population Change Processes

The population's size, distribution, and composition are constantly changing. This is the effect of the three processes of Birth, Death and Migration interacting with each other.

Three major processes of population change are defined as follows:

1) Birth Rates: The birth rate is defined as the number of live births per 1,000 people per year. Birth rates have always been higher than death rates in India.

2) Death Rates: The death rate is the number of people who die per 1,000 in a given year.

3) Migration is the process by which people move between regions and territories. Internal migration (within a country) or international migration (between the countries). It has an effect on the population distribution within a country. Internal migration does not lead to change in population of a country while international migration does.

Population Growth in India

The term "population growth" refers to the change in the population of a country/territory over a specified time period.  This transformation can be expressed in two ways:

In absolute terms: The absolute values are calculated by subtracting the earlier population (e.g., 2001) from the subsequent population (e.g. that of 2011).

In terms of annual percentage change: It is expressed in percent per year, e.g., a rate of increase of 2% per year means that for every 100 people in the base population, two people were added in a given year. The annual growth rate is referred to as this.

Trends in Population Growth in India

Effect of Birth and Death Rates

From 1950’s to 1980’s

Until 1981, India's annual population growth rate increased steadily. This can be attributed to high birth rates and declining death rates.

From 1981 Onwards: As a result of government efforts and increased awareness, the birth fate began to decline, resulting in a gradual decline in the population growth rate. Since then, the annual rate of population growth has begun to slow.

Effect of Migration

The majority of recent migrations in India have been from rural to urban areas. This is due to rural poverty and unemployment (push factors) and increased employment opportunities and better living conditions in cities (Pull factors).

From 17.29% of the total population in 1951 to 31.8 % in 2011, the urban population has increased. In just a decade, from 2001 to 2020, the number of million-plus cities increased significantly from 35 to 56.

Growth in Absolute Numbers

Nonetheless, India's population growth in the 1990s was 182 million (in terms of number). This increase in the number of people was greater than ever before. Despite a decreasing annual growth rate (in percentage points), the largest addition in people (in terms of number) is due to the country's large population.

Due to the very high population even a low growth rate results in a large absolute increase. However, while the declining growth rate is a positive indicator for birth control efforts, total population additions continue to rise. If the current rate of growth continues, India will overtake China as the world's most populous country by 2045.

Class 9 French Reolution - A Society of Estates.jpg

Characteristics or Qualities of The Population

Composition of Ages

The age composition of a population refers to the population's distribution of people by age group. A nation's population is classified into three broad categories:

1) Children (generally those under the age of 15): They are economically inactive and require food, clothing, education, and medical care.

2) Working Age (15–59 years): They are economically productive and reproductive biologically. They make up the labour force.

3) Over 59 years of age: They may work voluntarily but are not available for recruitment.

What is Dependent Population?

The dependent population consists of children and the elderly combined. They are referred to as dependent because they do not produce.

Sex Ratio - Ratio of Females to Males

The sex ratio is the number of females in the population for every 1000 males. It is an important social indicator for determining the degree of equality between men and women in a society at any given time. Due to tradition and unscrupulous behaviour of people, the sex ratio in India has always been unfavourable to females.

Certain progressive states, such as Kerala, have a very favourable sex ratio of 1084, compared to 940 for the rest of India.

According to the 2011 census. Puducherry has 1038 females for every 1000 males, while Delhi has only 866 females for every thousand males and Haryana has only 877 females for every thousand males.

In order to bring a behavioural change towards girl child, the Government of India launched ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign. This was launched in Panipat, an important city in Haryana.

Literacy Rates

Literacy is defined as the ability to read and write in any language with comprehension by the age of seven. Literacy rate refers to the total percentage of a region's population aged seven and up at a given time who can read and write with comprehension.

Although literacy rates in the country have been steadily increasing, rural literacy lags significantly behind urban literacy, and female literacy lags far behind male literacy.

According to the 2011 Census, the country's literacy rate is 74.04 %. It was discovered that the urban literacy rate was 84.98 %, while the rural literacy rate was only 68.91 %. Similarly, female literacy was 65.46 %, while male literacy was 82.14 %.

Class 9 French Reolution - A Society of Estates.jpg
Class 9 French Reolution - A Society of Estates.jpg

Structure of the Workforce in India

The distribution of the population according to various types of occupation is referred to as occupational structure. The percentage of economically active people is an important indicator of development. The country has a wide range of occupations. 

Primary, secondary, and tertiary occupations are the most common classifications.

Primary occupations are those that involve the extraction of natural resources from the Earth. Agriculture, fishery, forestry, mining, quarrying, and so on are examples of these.

Secondary occupations are those in which extracted natural resources are converted into usable products. Manufacturing, refining, and construction are examples of these.

Tertiary occupations are those that provide services to primary and secondary occupations. This includes transportation, communications, commerce, administration, and legal services, among other things.

In developed and developing countries, the proportion of people engaged in various activities varies. The developing world's population is more concentrated in primary occupations, whereas the developed world's population is more concentrated in secondary and tertiary occupations.

In India, agriculture alone employs half of the population. However, as a result of industrialisation and urbanisation, there has been a significant shift in recent decades toward secondary and tertiary occupations, which previously accounted for approximately 13% and 20% of total employment, respectively.

Health of Population

Health is a critical component of population composition, as it has an effect on the development process. The significant improvement in public health in our country is the result of a number of factors, including the following:

  • Infectious disease prevention

  • Modern medical practises are incorporated into the diagnosis and treatment of ailments.

Health Indicator Trends in India

Life expectancy at birth has increased from 36.7 years in 1951 to 64.7 years in 2011.

Death rate has decreased from 25 per 1000 people in 1951 to 7.2 in 2011

What are the major concerns regarding health in India?

Malnutrition : It affects a large percentage of the population, especially children. Nutrition and calorie consumption per capita are far below the recommended levels. Appropriate population policies can help to mitigate this.

Lack of Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation : In rural areas, access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation are major issues that require immediate attention.

Class 9 French Reolution - A Society of Estates.jpg

Population of Adolescents

Adolescents are classified according to their age range of 10 to 19 years. They are the primary source of future resources. It accounts for one-fifth of India's total population.

Nutrition in Adolescents

Their nutritional needs are greater than those of adults or younger children, but in our country, the diet available to them is frequently insufficient, resulting in deficiency and stunted growth.

Many adolescent girls suffer from anaemia, and they must be educated about their needs through improved literacy and education.

National Population Policy of India (NPP 200)

The Government of India launched its first Family Planning Programme in 1952 after recognising that family planning would improve individual health and welfare. This encouraged parents to be responsible and planned parents on a voluntary basis.

The government created the National Population Policy (NPP 2000) in the year 2000, with the following major goals:

  • Providing free and compulsory school education to children aged 14 and up.

  • Getting the infant mortality rate below 30 per 1000 live births

  • Universal Immunization of children against all vaccine-preventable diseases.

  • Promoting delayed marriages for girls

  • Creating family welfare a programmes

Special focus on Adolescents

Adolescents were identified as one of the major sections of the population that needed more attention in NPP 2000 and Adolescents National Population Policy (NPP) 2000.

NPP 2000 placed a greater emphasis on adolescents' critical needs, such as:

  • Protection from unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and the dangers of unprotected sex.

  • Programmes that encourage postponing marriage and childbearing

  • Adolescent education

  • Provision of food supplements and nutritional services

Recommended Links

bottom of page