The selection of India comes as no surprise for a number of reasons. It has an ever-changing population rate and a rich history that stipulates and rationalizes population trends. Mortality and population growth have historical underlying reasons. The point is that the Indians would incur multiple waves of incursion. Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan conquered parts of the Indian subcontinent while the British troops sent the whole region into the vassalage of English royalty. An increase in exploitation is always in inverse proportion to population growth and life expectancy. Since the region was the lucrative sources of spices, cotton, and tea, British commercial staples, it is only logical to assume the exploitation of the local population was intense and inhumane at times. Now that the region has received its independence, the rates of population seem to be stabilizing with time at such a speed that the country has come close to exceeding China in terms of population growth. However, this is not to say that Ceylon, presently known as Sri Lanka or Iran situated in close proximity to the country analyzed are not about as much demographically noteworthy as India is. There are weighty, nay, undeniable advantages that make the country worth analyzing. The point is that India is a large Asian country with a dynamically changing population determined by three variables, such as fertility, mortality and migration, reflecting country’s demographic evolution from past, present, and future perspectives.
According to “India – a Country Overview” (n.p.), the Republic of India is located in southern Asia, bordering on Bangladesh, Burma, and Myanmar to the north-east, China, Bhutan, and Nepal to the north, and Pakistan to the north-west. The country is surrounded by the Indian Ocean to the south, the Arabian Sea to the west, and the Bay of Bengal to the East. The Himalayan mountain range spreads across the better part of northern India. What makes India so unique in terms of demography, is that it is the second most populated and the seventh largest country in the world. Experts expect the state to overcome China in just 25 years. As of 2012, an estimated 1.21 million people inhabit the country, 29% of which live in the urban areas. As per the most conservative estimates, there are a total of 2.000 ethnic groups on the subcontinent. That is what makes India worthy of the most detailed analysis. What is more, the country with the capital in New Delhi is composed of 28 states and 7 Union Territories. Hindi is the official language of the country, though English is widespread along with 21 other languages commonly spoken across India. Country’s prominent religions are Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, and Sikhism. Literacy rate is 61% while average life duration amounts to 67.14 years. The member of G20, India has the world’s largest purchasing power and 11th largest GDP estimated at 1.843 trillion as of 2011.
Country’s history started with the formation of the Harappan Civilization as far back 2500 BC in the Indus Valley. In 326 BC, Alexander the Great forayed into the subcontinent, without moving further than the Indus River. The first Indian Empire, aka the Mauryan Empire existed from 322 to 185 BC. Buddhism spread under the Kushana Empire in the 1st century AD. Islam came to penetrate into the area with the Turks and Afghans conquerors flooding the subcontinent in the 10th and 11th centuries AD. The Great Mughal Empire spread throughout the whole India in the 16th century. The British established the first trading post of East India Company in the year 1619. Starting with 1857, India became the direct subject of the British Crown. The Indian National Congress spearheaded the opposition to the British colonial rule in the 20th century. Even though advising the British on legislative matters regarding India and participating in Legislative Councils, the Indians would not rest until Mohandas Gandhi took the lead of the Congress and gave the independence movement a much-needed momentum. In 1947, India received independence, though remaining a part of the Commonwealth. In 1960s, the country became actively involved in military conflicts over territorial claims to retain such contested areas as Kashmir and Bangladesh. In 1990s, there began the ear of fiscal reforms, opening new vistas for foreign investors (“India – a Country Overview” n.p.).
As far as data and methods of the research are concerned, “India’s Population: Past, Present, and Future” is lecture prepared by Timothy Dyson, the professor of population studies from London School of Economics. The professor evaluates the population at the time of writing and well beyond that; all data compiled by census-makers are given a proper analysis. Not only does the scientist synthesize the opinions of subject field experts, but also he presents the assessment of his own. The lecture is based on the official reports presented by the United Nations and UNICEF, Delhi Institute of Economic Growth, Indian Council of Science of Social Science Research, and United Nations Children’s Fund, to name a few. “The Future Population of India” is a special report created by A.R. Nanda, the Executive Director of Population foundation of India, and Carl Haub, Senior demographer of the Population Reference Bureau. The research provides with the projection of the population growth, based on national census conducted in 2001. “India – a Country Overview” is a special report that gives insight into country’s background information. It abounds with statistics that gives a visual representation of overall demographic trends, economic figures, and historical facts. It rationalizes the choice of the country and its demographic value.
According to Professor Tim Dyson (2), overall complexity and fabled diversity render the task of analyzing population nearly impossible. As of 1947, the overall population of India was within the region of 336 million. As per the 2001 census, the population was reported by Register General, India (n.p.) to reach 1.027 million individuals, which is equal to 17% of human population (qtd. in Dyson 2). Based on growth pace tendency, an estimated 1.080 million people was the number of population projected for 2003. That the number of India inhabitants has trebled since 1947, the year that the country was granted its independence from British colonial rule, proves the standards of living and the average levels of food availability to have improved drastically. Still, were the population not that big, the standards of living might have become better a long time ago (Dyson 2). Visaria (327) notes that population growth is hindrance to improvement and the elimination of poverty (qtd. in Dyson 2). It is safe to admit that state programs facilitating the improvement of social standards have become a real contributor to population boom. Frankly speaking, while under an oppressor, a country faces a serious challenge since the very last thing a colonial ruler is interested in is population development and survival except for a number of physically superior males. Independence grants the unique possibility of demographical stimulation. On contrary to the ever-increasing human contingent, Indian authorities and governmental bodies manage to provide the nation with all social standards needed for the cyclic regeneration of the share of citizens passing due to the natural process of mortality and well beyond that.
Dyson (3) admits that, as per the 2003 estimation of country’s fertility, India enjoyed a 1.7% rise, adding about as many as 18 million individuals on an annual basis, which went 0.3% down from 1947. The birth rate has fallen, so has that of mortality. Fertility rate used to be on the rise in the years around 1947, with women giving birth to six children on average. Upon rising in 1950s and 1960s, fertility pace began showing the signs of gradual decline in the late 1960s only to reach the bottom of 3.1 births per one woman. This demographic aspect is a variable that differs from state to the other (Dyson 3). Nanda and Haub (1) also claim that birth rates are geographically variable, with 1.7 and 4.3 births in Kerala and Bihar respectively. Fertility, according to Dyson (3), is higher in the Northern areas, such as Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Rajasthan. Conversely, in such states as Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, women’s giving birth to two children is the case in what is described as replacement fertility, that is to say, two children born are sufficient for replacing parents. Birth is said to be decreasing at a perceptible pace even in states where fertility is higher than that of replacement. It is projected that it will be falling in the course of the coming decades. The reason for the decline to occur in the country is a somewhat delayed reaction to the fall in mortality rate, or the improvement thereof, with the decline in fertility being likely to reestablish a rough measure of Indian demographic equilibrium. What produced mortality fall was India’s being the trailblazer of the worldwide movement of family planning in 1920s and 1930s. Education, one of state policies of eradicating illiteracy, is the major facilitator of birth decline. Pursuant to census data, the rate of literacy was up 49% in 2001, as compared to 1951 when it was 16% (Dyson 3-4). The tendency is consistent with the laws of logic since, in colonial mentality, there is no room for literacy for people who are supposed to perform manual labor to enrich the economy of the empire.
According to Dyson (5), though debatable, the age, at which Indian women get married, is another contributor to fertility decline. At the time when they marry, they are 21 years of age. Still, the key cause of the decline in fertility is the application of the modern techniques of birth control. In 1947, the selected parts of urban elite would practice such methods, condoms being one of them. It is informed in IIPS and ORC Macro (n.p.) that, proceeding from the National Family Health Survey conducted in 1998-1999, approximately 48% of all married women were resorting to the modern devices of contraception at the time (qtd. in Dyson 5). More than that, country’s family planning program bears relation to fertility pace. It has failed at promoting the reversible forms of contraception since 80% of contemporary Indian women tend to use sterilization, aka tubectomy, the process by which women’s reproductive organs are sealed or severed. With that in mind, fertility rate would be higher these days but for the program of family planning (Dyson 5).
The population of India will have reached 1.4 billion by 2026, the prediction based on the 2001 demographic census (Dyson 10). It is safe to admit that the census conducted in 2001 is one of the most relied on surveys, seeing that a 200-million rise per decade has been proved a reality, based on knowledge received in 2011. It is well recorded that year the number of people was 1.2 billion and counting. According to Dyson (10), birth rate will continue to decrease. Since the southern areas were close to replacement level fertility in mid-2000s, the tendency would only increase. Nanda and Haub (4) suggest that after reaching a replacement level fertility, India will enter the so-called “zero growth” condition. According to Dyson (10), the word among those making fertility projections is that it will fall below 2.1 births per woman. Natarajan and Jayachandran (n.p.) predict the rate to reach the floor of 1.6 births while Bhat (n.p.) and Dyson (n.p.) have traced the prediction within the region of 1.7 and 1.8 births respectively (qtd. in Dyson 10). Since women’s life cycles make it possible for them to play a particular role in labor force, birth pace will decrease below replacement in the future. Given that Indian authorities continue family planning efforts, the population will go on dropping (Dyson 10).
Mortality is another important factor to consider in the context of country demography. Nanda and Haub (5) claim that, in the period between 2002 and 2004, life expectancy tended to range from 57 years in Madhya Pradesh to 74 years in Kerala, which speaks volumes for the regional diversification of the demographic aspect. In addition, 14 and 76 infant deaths in 1000 live births were recorded in 2005 Kerala and Madhya Pradesh respectively. Dyson (6) notes that India may well be credited with having improved its death pace significantly since partying ways with the British Empire. In the year 2003, average life duration has gone 29 years up on 1947 to average 62 years. As of 1947, the country was being plagued by malaria, with tens of millions of cases recorded. The disease was claiming hundreds of thousands of the Indians. According to Learmonth (n.p.), it was to the national anti-malaria campaign and new technologies that the country owed its gradual convalescence. By year 1965, the number of the infected has dropped to 100.000 cases and zero death incidents. However, the thing that gave the disease a fighting chance in later decades was administrative complacency. Malaria went from being almost conquered in the third quarter of the 20th century to being unleashed towards the late second half of the century, though being less intense and morbid. Now it has strengthened its positions as a grave medical issue and a contributor to mortality.
The liquidation of smallpox in 1975 was an important milestone in country fighting a war with epidemics. According to Banthia and Dyson (n.p.), in 1950s, there were a total of 64.000 deaths from smallpox annually (qtd. in Dyson 6). Regardless of brief emergence in 1994, plague together with cholera also saw a main reduction in the second half of the 20th century. Dyson and Maharatna (n.p.) admit that the same applies to food scarcity that was excessive in the early 1970s (qtd. in Dyson 6). Cassen and Dyson (n.p.) and Ruzicka (n.p.) notice that the improvement in mortality situation was in part due to immunization and anti-vector spraying campaigns; still, speculation had it that these were somewhat eclipsed by the scope of mortality spread and that the amelioration of the levels of living was needed. Vaccination or no vaccination, there is no denying the rate of mortality is on the wane owing to the complex of reasons. Better standards of living, sanitation, the provision of safe water, health service improvement initiated and implemented by state programs are reasons death from epidemics or the lack of required living standards is no longer a nation-wide problem in India. Medication accessibility has added to nation’s health improvement since medicine are easy to purchase over the counter in urban areas presently. Since 1980s, the country authorities have increased child immunization, with 70% of one-year olds immunized against pertussis, diphtheria, tetanus, measles, and poliomyelitis. According to UNICEF (n.p.), the country healthcare system has made major headway towards providing children with tetanus antitoxin. The above-mentioned changes caused infant mortality to decline rapidly by 2000. Pursuant to the Sample Registration System, death ratio was such that only 68 in 1000 infants perished from the mentioned illnesses, which was a third as low as it was in 1947 (Dyson 6-7).
Whatever the progress, India is still years away from becoming a healthy nation with a low death pace. The country takes a shameful lead in the incidence of anemia and stunting. Little is the decrease in respiratory diseases since 1947, for tuberculosis, aka the archetypal illness of poverty, remains one of key intractable health issues of today. Clearly, while higher than that of men, Indian women’s life duration does not do the overall mortality situation any favors. AIDS and HIV infection pace is on the rise because the country is the first but one in terms of the number of adults, that is those aged 15-49, infected with human immunodeficiency virus after South Africa, with the ratio 3.7 to 4.1 million respectively. The reason for AIDS/HIV spread and contribution to mortality is governmental denial and complacency, as Indian authorities are slow to recognize the importance of addressing the immunodeficiency epidemics. It stands to reason that death pace in rural areas is much bigger than that in urban regions is due to unequal health service provision. According to Register General, India (n.p.), in the timeframe between 1992 and 1996, life expectancy in urban areas was seven years longer, as opposed to rural regions (qtd. in Dyson 7).
Dyson (10-11) expects mortality situation to improve with time, with life expectancy reaching 67 and 71 years by the timeframe between 2021 and 2026. Bhat (n.p.) makes similar predictions while those made by Natarajan and Jayachandran (n.p.) sound more optimistic, with life duration reaching 68.9 and 73.5 years by 2021 for men and women respectively. The short-term predictions on mortality rate suggest that death frequency from infectious diseases will be declining while that from non-communicable illnesses, such as circulatory ailments and cancers will be increasing. Indian healthcare system is sure to succeed in eradicating guinea worm, poliomyelitis, yaws, and leprosy. Northern regions of the country will be especially actively engaged in children’s immunization, which will do a lot to reduce their mortality. Life duration will also benefit largely from the increase in income, education, and infrastructure. It is not that the country will manage to uproot all major infectious diseases. Visaria (n.p.) claims that malaria will keep claiming human lives, as will tuberculosis inasmuch as drug-resistant types of the illness extend the geography of their proliferation in part stimulated by AIDS/HIV (qtd. in Dyson 11). What is more, immunodeficiency virus will be as deadly as the above-states diseases, making mortality statistics worse. Worse, India will most likely surpass South Africa in terms of immunodeficiency rise owing to the larger number of population (Dyson 12). Nanda and Haub (5) state that the National AIDS Control Organization has reduced its official estimates of HIV prevalence from 0.9 to 0.36among the population aged 15 and 49.
The third important factor in evaluating the state of population in India is migration. Dyson (8) informs that the population of the Indian subcontinent has grown more mobile than it was in 1947. Visaria (n.p.) notices that India is the country with the slow pace of urbanization (qtd. in Dyson 8). The 2001 census showed that urban population was bigger by 11%, as compared to 1951 survey showing the rate of 17%. The statistics implies that urban population is composed of 285 million people as of mid-2000s. Visaria (n.p.) claims that, back in 1951, there were as few as five Indian million-cities, such as 4.7 million Calcutta, 3.2 million Bombay, 1.5 million Madras, 1.4 million Delhi, and 1.1 million Hyderabad (qtd. in Dyson 8). According to Registrar General, India (n.p.), the census conducted in 2001 demonstrated that there were already 35 “million-plus” cities in the country. Put in descending order, they are as follows: Mumbai, Calcutta, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Kanpur, Jaipur, Lucknow, and Nagpur, to name but a few (qtd. in Dyson 8).
According to Visaria (n.p.), migration to urban areas remains one of the most important factors behind the growth in urban population (qtd. in Dyson 8). As per the census, the better part of migrants are women who change their residential areas after getting married. One of the most detailed surveys to date is the 1991 census that reports women to dominate all types of migration, especially, that over short distances. According to Visaria (n.p.), demography experts have every reason to claim that circular migration has decreased in recent decades while commuting has increased critically (qtd. in Dyson 9). What is more, all signs point to interstate commuting falling. Kundu and Gupta (n.p.) suggest emigration from poor states and immigration into wealthy states is not the case in India despite economic disparities between cities that have transpired during recent decades. Nor has the scope of international migration been great. As of the early 1990s, 1 million people of Indian descent were living in the United Kingdom, 1 million in the USA, and approximately 2 million in the Gulf. Visaria (n.p.) concludes that these people emigrated from India at some point since 1947 (qtd. in Dyson 9). As far as reasons of international and interstate migration are concerned, financial failures and welfare problems driving the poor to seek employment opportunities elsewhere are universal incentives.
As for migration projection, about 36% of population will be living in the urban sector around 2026. The number of million-plus cities will have risen to 70 by the time. Such urban agglomerates as Delhi and Mumbai will have the population close to 30 million people in the year 2026. While migration is predicted to be rural-to-rural, urbanization process will ensure that migration flows will become urban-oriented with time. The increase in million-plus cities will decrease interstate migration, as there will be no use commuting between home and office, with residential room in cities in abundance. Nanda and Haub (5) also believe interstate migration to decrease gradually, followings its relative mid-2000 increase. Speaking of migration to larger and wealthier states, Chandigarh and Delhi will not experience the influx of migrating population from other regions, as people will become diverted by adjacent areas, such as Gurgaon in Haryana and Noida in Uttar Pradesh (Nanda & Haub 5). The emigration of the Indians bound for Europe, North America, and Australia among other destination points will further increase; still, people Bangladesh and Nepal will immigrate into India (Dyson 12-14). According to Nanda and Haub (5), state-level migration will be equal to 200.000 individuals annually.
Overall, India has a dynamically changing population determined by three main variables, such as fertility, mortality, and migration. The era of colonial rule characterized by the non-intrusion of the British administration into health, cultural, and demographic aspects of India took its ultimate toll on the population. However, starting with 1947, the year that India received its independence, the country went fighting infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, smallpox, malaria, and poliomyelitis contributing to mortality rate. Vaccination and other elements of healthcare campaigns helped eradicate the better part of illnesses. Still, now diseases other than infectious pose about as serious danger as infectious illnesses did. The age of marriage, birth control techniques and, most notably, family planning program are the main reasons fertility rate is on the decline presently, although the population has risen from a few hundred million to 1.2 billion in 2011. Speaking of migration, there used to be an internal migration from rural to urban areas, which is still under way at a somewhat slow pace. The country does not experience the migration of people from areas that are less economically prosperous to wealthier regions. Although the Indians do emigrate from the country to the North America and Europe there is no serious population drain. Some 200.000 individuals are expected to emigrate annually in the coming decades; still, India will host immigrants from neighboring countries.
Dyson, Tim. “India’s Population: Past, Present, and Future.” London School of Economics. 4 March 2003. 1-21. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
“India – a Country Overview.” Anglo Info. n.d. n.p. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
Nanda, A.R. and Carl Haub. “The Future Population of India. A Long-range Demographic View.” Population References Bureau. August 2007. 1-20. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.