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Sociology | Class 12 | The Demographic Structure of the Indian Society


Demography is the study of population trends and processes, including changes in population size, patterns of births, deaths, and migration, as well as the population's structure and composition, including the proportions of women, men, and various age groups.

The phrase has Greek roots and is made up of the terms demos (meaning "people") and graphein (meaning "describe," suggesting the description of people).

All demographic studies are based on counting or enumeration procedures like the census or survey, which entail the methodical gathering of information on the population existing within a given territory.

Demography is a field of particular relevance to sociology; in fact, sociology owes a great deal to demography for its successful growth as an academic discipline:

  • Europe experienced the beginnings of modern statistics and the creation of nation-states at the same time in the late 18th century.

  • The formulation and execution of governmental policies, particularly those for economic growth and general welfare, depend on demographic data.

  • The numerical properties of a vast collectivity containing millions of people, or aggregate statistics, provide a clear and compelling case for the presence of social phenomena.

Two forms of demography exist:

  • Formal Demography involves statistical examination of the population, including total population, male to female ratio, youth to working population, and rural to urban ratio (quantitative data).

  • Social demography refers to a society's migratory patterns, birth and death rates. It deals with data, totals, and statistics. Social demography is concurred with changes or the consequences of the population of a society and how it affects us.

The Malthusian Theories of Population Growth

Thomas Robert Malthus was the architect of the Malthusian Theory.

He made the claim that human populations typically increase far more quickly than the capacity of the means of human subsistence (especially food, but also clothing and other things derived from agriculture).

Because population expansion will always outpace agricultural production growth, humanity is doomed to live in poverty forever.

While population growth follows a geometric pattern (e.g., 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc.), agricultural output can only increase along an arithmetic pattern (i.e., like 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 etc.).

Controlling population growth is the only way to boost prosperity because population expansion constantly outpaces increases in the production of resources needed for survival.

Unfortunately, humanity only has a limited capacity to actively slow down population growth (via "preventive checks" such delaying marriage or engaging in sexual abstinence or celibacy).

Therefore, according to Malthus, famines and other diseases that act as "positive checks" on population increase are unavoidable since they are nature's means of resolving the imbalance between the availability of food and the growing population.

Objections to the Malthusian Theory

  • Sociologists contend that unequal economic resources, not a decline in agricultural growth, are to blame for poverty, hunger, etc.

  • The development of science and technology has not put a cap on agricultural production.

  • The standard of living has increased along with population expansion. Technology and science are to blame for this.

  • Liberal and Marxist intellectuals criticised Malthus for saying that poverty was brought on by population growth. The critics claimed that rather than population expansion, issues like poverty and starvation were brought on by the unfair allocation of economic resources.

The Demographic Transition Theory

This shows that every culture follows a general pattern of development-related population increase and that population growth is correlated with overall levels of economic development.

The basic stages of population increase are three.

  • Developing nations in the primitive stage (Africa): The first stage is characterised by slow population increase in a backward-thinking, impoverished civilization. Growth rates are low because there is a large disparity between the two—or the net growth rate—between the high birth and mortality rates.

Due to lack of education and ignorance about the benefits of fewer families, the birth rate is high.

Due to a lack of healthcare services, death rates are very high. Population is therefore low.

  • Second Stage-Developing Countries (India, Pakistan): This stage, which marks the transition from a backward to an advanced stage, is characterised by extremely high rates of population growth.

Due to the patriarchal nature of our society, where males determine how many children should be born and favour male children, the birth rate is high.

Since there are health and medical services, the death rate is also low. As a result, there is a high population, which causes population explosion.

When the working population grows faster than the non-working population, there is a demographic divide.

  • Third Stage-Developed Countries (USA, UK): In a developed civilization, the third (and final) stage is also one of modest growth, in which both the mortality rate and the birth rate have been slightly reduced.

The birth rate is low, individuals are informed and aware and utilise birth control, and it is widely accepted.

Because there are health and medical services available, the death rate is also low. Population is therefore low.

Common Population Concepts

The majority of statistical ideas involve two numbers and are stated as rates or ratios. One of these figures represents a specific statistic that was generated for a particular geographic administrative unit, while the other figure serves as a baseline for comparison.

Population explosion occurs when a nation's birth rate is high and its death rate is low due to the accessibility of health and medical services.

Birth Rate: The number of live births per 1,000 people.

  • A nation's birth rate may be high due to: the nation's mindset; the desire for male offspring; and patrilineal culture.

Death Rate: The number of fatalities per 1,000 people. Likewise known as mortality rate.

Natural growth rate: The difference between a region's birth and mortality rates. When the population has "stabilised," we mean that the difference between the two has reached zero or, in actuality, is extremely minor.

Replacement Level: The current generation takes the place of the earlier or preceding generation.

  • Due to literacy, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have zero or stabilised levels.

  • Uttar Pradesh: The high replacement level (4:1) and potential growth in the youth population are positives.

  • Level 0: Replacement is identical. Stabilized level occurs when the same number of people replace the same number of the older generation (parents replaced by 2 children).

  • Negative level: Fewer people are replacing the elder generation (parents . replaced by child).

surge in population: More people are replacing the older generation. More people are employed than are dependent on others.

Fertility Rate: The number of live births among women aged 15 to 49 per 1,000.

  • Total fertility rate is the proportion of women giving birth to children in a given area between the ages of 15 and 49.

Infant Mortality Rate: The proportion of newborns under one year of age who die for every thousand live births. High infant and maternal death rates are an undeniable sign of underdevelopment and poverty; when medical facilities, levels of education and awareness, and economic prosperity rise, these rates rapidly decline.

Maternal Mortality Rate: The number of women who pass away giving birth per 1,000 people.

Life expectancy: According to statistics, the number of years that a person can anticipate to live can vary depending on their condition, race, sex, age, and other demographic factors.

Sex ratio: The ratio of females to males in thousands. In most nations historically, it has been observed that there are marginally more females than males. Despite the fact that somewhat more male than female newborns are born, this is the case.

  • If, despite this, there is a slight sex ratio in favour of women, there appear to be two causes for this:

    • First, when it comes to illness resistance throughout infancy, girl kids seem to have an edge over boy babies.

    • Second, women have a tendency to outlive males in most countries, thus there are more older women than older men at the other end of the life cycle.

Declining sex ratio causes:

  • Mentality of the populace

  • abuse of a girl child

  • Feminist infanticide and foeticide

  • rates of maternal mortality—women pass away while giving birth.

The highest rates of female infanticide and burning occur in prosperous states like Punjab and Haryana because: Dowry is quite expensive and parents want to save money.

When they acquire a female, they kill it because they only want 2 or 3 boys.

The sex of the infant cannot be determined prior to birth because to the Pre Natal Diagnostic Technique Act/Regulation and Prevention of Misuse Act, which was introduced in 1996 and then put into effect in 2003.

Age distribution: The distribution of people by age.

  • Age Distribution in the Indian Population.

  • 0-15 years 15 to 64 year old youth Over-64-year-old working population/retired population.

Demographic dividend: The proportion of people who are dependant on those who are employed but are not employed themselves

  • In nations where the population is ageing, a rising dependency ratio is concerning because it makes it more challenging for a comparatively smaller percentage of people of working age to support a relatively bigger percentage of dependents. On the other side, a declining dependency ratio can lead to economic expansion and prosperity because there are more employees than non-workers.

  • When the working population in a nation exceeds the dependent/nonworking population, this is known as a demographic dividend.

  • By improving education, raising awareness, etc., the demographic dividend can be preserved. Advantage: There is a sizable working population that must sustain a tiny elderly population.


  • Reading and writing are both aspects of literacy.

  • Formal and informal education are both components of education.

  • The highest rate of literacy is in Kerala, while the lowest rates are in Rajasthan and the northern states.

Three categories exist:

  • Gender: Although more men than women are literate, this ratio is rising.

  • Social Group: Families with greater incomes had higher literacy rates than families with lower incomes. With reservations for SC and ST people, the government is attempting to close the gap.

  • Geographical differences: Rajasthan and Bihar have lower literacy rates than Kerala, which has a high level.

The population of India and its Growth

According to the Census of India 2011, India has a total population of 121 crore (or 1.21 billion), making it the second most populated nation in the world after China.

Although India has a large population now, this has not always been the case. The rate of growth has fluctuated:

  • The average annual growth rate from 1901 and 1951 was only 1.33%, which was a moderate pace of expansion.

  • In actuality, there was a negative growth rate of 0.03% from 1911 and 1921. because of the influenza epidemic in 1918–19, which claimed the lives of 12.5 million people, or 5% of the nation's total population.

  • Increased levels of control over famines and epidemic diseases were the primary causes of the drop in the death rate after 1921.

  • After gaining independence from British administration, the population grew at a significantly faster rate, reaching 2.2% between 1961 and 1981.

  • Since then, despite a decline in the annual growth rate, it has remained among the highest in the developing world.

These ups and downs' root causes are:

Epidemics: Diseases that are contagious and afflict thousands of individuals over a wide area. For instance, the Spanish influenza spread throughout the World War. You choke to death because it affects the throat and oral cavity. It is thought to have claimed more lives than any other conflict.

  • Because of poor sanitation, inadequate medical facilities, and chemical explosions and fumes, it spreads quickly and is contagious.

  • Because of better medical facilities, vaccines, sanitary conditions, and public knowledge, these are now less common.

  • There are still several outbreaks in India, including the chikungunya, malaria, plague, and swine flu.

Famines are a result of persistently high levels of poverty and starvation in an agroclimatic climate that is very susceptible to fluctuations in rainfall. Famines were caused by a number of issues, including inadequate state efforts and a lack of effective communication and transportation infrastructure.

According to Dr. Amartya Sen,

"Famine is not always caused by a lack of food grain; it may also be caused by ineffective distribution, failure of entitlements, and people's inability to purchase or otherwise obtain food."


  • The Green Revolution has enhanced the availability of foodgrains despite changing rainfall levels through the efficient distribution of foodgrains through improved communities and transportation.

  • Medical facilities: The government takes precautions and efforts to make sure that the people are helped when there is famine in a region.

  • The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) ensures that everyone has a job so that they may relocate and purchase food in the event of a famine.

Urban and Rural Differences

Rural residents move to cities in search of better work possibilities and other factors.

In rural areas, 68.8% of the population still resides.

Despite the fact that agriculture dominates rural areas, there are several non-agricultural industries as well, including post offices, small enterprises, teaching, transportation, and communication.

Reasons people move from rural to urban regions include:

  • One of the reasons people migrate from rural to urban areas is because of the mass media, which also makes the rural region aware of the urban area.

  • The rural areas' resources are being depleted to a great extent. They are moving to metropolitan areas as a result of factors like rivers drying up and land owing to building.

  • Urban settings are more anonymous, and caste and other distinctions are less important.

  • In metropolitan regions, those without formal education can choose whatever career they want.

Megapolis: A city with both infrastructure and suburbs, such as the National Capital Region (NCR).

India's Population Policy

The National Family Planning Programme (NFPP) was first implemented in 1952.

It made an effort to change the rate and pattern of population in a direction that was socially desirable.

Its goals were to regulate the population and spread information in a way that was acceptable to society.

Utilizing birth control techniques, limit births or lower the birth rate.

All fundamental rights were suspended during the emergency enforced by the Indira Gandhi administration (1975–1976).

Media was restrained.

Sanjay Gandhi, the younger son of Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the then-prime minister of India, launched a mass sterilisation programme to manage the country's population.

Women underwent tubectomy, and men were very hastily performed vasectomy.

The mass sterilisation camp put a lot of strain on all government teachers and doctors.

As National Family Welfare Programme, it was renewed (NFWP).

In this, sterilisation of individuals was only permitted with the consent of the individual and required their signature.


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