Population & Census

Why study Population

Indian population may overtake the population of China by mid of 2023, eventually making India the most populous nation in the world. Some say that a large population is a liability for the nation and others say that population is a resource for the country. If we consider it as a liability then to deal with this liability we need to study the population so that target-oriented policy can be formed. On the other hand, if we consider it as a resource even then we need a requisite policy to capitalise on this resource.

What is demography?

Demography is the science of systematic study of population. The term is of Greek origin and is composed of the two words, ‘demos’ (people) and ‘graphein’ (describe), implying the description of people. Demography studies the trends and processes associated with population including – changes in population size; patterns of births, deaths, and migration; and the structure and composition of the population, such as the relative proportions of women, men and different age groups.

How to determine Population Trends?

All demographic studies are based on processes of counting or enumeration – such as the census or the survey – which involve the systematic collection of data on the people residing within a specified territory.


The procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population.

The term is used mostly in connection with ‘national population and door-to-door censuses’ to be taken every 10 years.

  • The responsibility of conducting the decennial Census rests with the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India under Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The Census Act, of 1948, guides the conduct of the census in India.
  • Census is conducted every 10 years
  • Census 2021 has been postponed indefinitely, due to the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to make sense of population data?

  1. Distribution and density of population
image 266
image 267

Factors affecting the distribution of the population

Geographical factors

Availability of water: it is the availability of water that led to a high population in the Doab region.

Relief: plains attract more people than hilly or plateau regions.

Climate: people avoid extreme climates like the population in Ladakh region is very low due to very low temperatures.

Soil: fertile soil provide the food to masses hence plain regions with fertile soils are more populated as compared to less fertile hilly or desert region.

Minerals: areas with minerals attracts industry which leads to population growth in that region like Jamshedpur.

Economic factors:

Industrialization: Employment opportunity attracts more population like Kolkata, Mumbai etc.

Urbanization: cities offer better employment opportunities, educational facilities, and medical facilities like Delhi NCR.

Social and cultural factors

Many cities developed to their religious importance Like Banaras.

People may not like it in the region of unrest we can see the migration from such areas to peaceful regions, for example, migration from Afghanistan and Myanmar in recent years.

Determinants of Population Change

Fertility: It refers to the actual reproductive performance of an individual or a group.

The crude birth rate is an important measure of fertility.

Crude birth rate: The crude birth rate is calculated by dividing the number of live births occurring during a calendar year in specified areas by the midyear population of that year.

The crude birth rate is generally expressed per thousand of the population.

Fecundity refers to the physiological capacity to reproduce.

Fertility can be affected by the following factors

  • Religious Ideologies
  • The universality of the institution of marriage.
  • Early marriage and early childbearing.
  • Preference for sons is ingrained in Indian culture.
  • Lack of a right of self-determination with reference to reproduction.
  • High infant and child mortality rates – (unsatisfactory health, low nutritional status and poverty) also contribute to large family size.
  • Economic, social, cultural as well as religious values of children in the Indian society.
  • Absence of adoption of methods of conception control.

Mortality: measurement of mortality rate includes crude death rate, infant mortality rate and life expectancy at birth and maternal mortality rate.

Crude death rate: It is the ratio of the total registered deaths occurring in a specified calendar year to the total mid-year population of that year, multiplied by 1000.

The expectation of Life at Birth: The average expectation of life at birth is a good measure of the level of mortality because it is not affected by the age structure of the population.

The term “average expectation of life” or life expectancy represents the average number of years of life which a cohort of new-born babies (that is, those born in the same year) may be expected to live if they are subjected to the risks of death at each year, according to the age-specific mortality rates prevailing in the country at the time to which the measure refers.

This measure is complicated to calculate but easy to understand.

Infant Mortality Rate: Infants are defined in demography as all those children in the first year of life who have not yet reached age one.

As per the Sample Registration System (SRS) Report of the Registrar General of India it was 30/1000 in 2019  as compared to 37/1000 in 2015

Maternal mortality rate: The maternal mortality ratio represents the risk associated with each pregnancy, i.e. the obstetric risk.

Maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes.

It is measured as the number of maternal deaths per 100000 live births.

As per the Sample Registration System (SRS) Report of the Registrar General of India (RGI), the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) has reduced from 8.1 in 2015-17 to 7.3 in 2016-18 at National Level.

Migration: Apart from birth and death there is another way by which the population size changes. When people move from one place to another, the place they move from their Place of Origin to their Place of Destination. The place of origin shows a decrease in population while the population increases in the place of destination.

Immigration: Migrants who move into a new place are called Immigrants.

Emigration: Migrants who move out of a place are called Emigrants.

Online Counselling
Table of Contents
Today's Current Affairs
This is default text for notification bar