Population: Causes and Effects

Posted on 02nd Aug 2016 | 3074 views

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'We must stabilize population. This will be possible only if all nations recognize that it requires improved social and economic conditions, and the adoption of effective, voluntary family planning.' -Lester Milbrath

1. Population growth and its facts


India is the second most populous country in the world after China. Recently, the population of India has crossed the one billion marks. According to the Census of India 2011, the population of India on 1st March 2011 was 1.21 billion. At the time of independence, the country's population was 342 million. The number has multiplied three-fold in around five decades. There was a remarkable growth of population in India 1951 to 2011. The percentage of population has increased by three times during the period of 1951-2011. As we know India lives in rural areas and most of them are engaged in agriculture. Indian government has designed many anti-poverty and employment generation programmes to reduce the poverty ratio in the country.


2. What are the causes of population growth in India?


The below factors plays an important role in the aspect of population growth:

Environmental challenges

Population growth and economic development causes many serious environmental problems in India. These problems include pressure on land, land/soil degradation, destruction of forests, and loss of biodiversity, changing consumption pattern, rising demand for energy, air pollution, global warming and climate change and water scarcity and water pollution.Land/soil degradation

Agriculture development activities arise from farming activities causes soil erosion, land salinization and loss of nutrients. Green revolution causes due to excessive use of land and water resources and over use of fertilizers and pesticides. Changing the mode of cultivation models is also an important cause of land degradation.

* Global warming and climate change

* Air pollution

* Rising demand for energy

* Changing consumption patterns

* Habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity

* Net availability of food grains in India

* Habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity

* Changing consumption patterns

* Water scarcity and water pollution

* Policy implications


Food safety practices in agriculture Improved agricultural practices have lead to fewer famines, allowing farmers to sustain much larger numbers of people. Machinery reduces manpower needed to farm while improved fertilizers and pesticides increase crop yields and reduce crops lost to pests.

Health Care

Advances in health care technology and medicine allow fewer individuals to die from injuries and illnesses. Health care is so effective that euthanasia and the Hippocratic Oath are sometimes debated.


Better sanitation has lead to fewer diseases being spread through water and contaminated surfaces.


Vaccines have lead to the elimination of many diseases such as measles and tuberculosis. Measles and tuberculosis were once leading causes of death.

Standard of Living and Fertility

Standard of living has a complicated effect on population growth. Areas with low standards of living have high birth rates, but also have high infant mortality rates. As the standard of living increases, better medical care leads to lower infant mortality rates and fertility medications increase a woman's chance for pregnancy. But statistically, societies with high standards of living tend to stabilize and eventually decline.

The causes of population growth are many and tend to relate to one another.

Health: Taking initiatives to control diseases, birth control measures, infant mortality, diet, and malnutrition, the number of doctors and nurses, sexual health education.

Education: More awareness on health education and compulsory schooling system, females in education, levels of tertiary education, literacy levels.

Social provision: Increased awareness on health and other issues with various media like radio and TV and encouraging public to maintain cleanliness and neatness of the environment.

Lack of women education

As we know most of the Indian women are illiterates and unemployed. The Government of India should take nessacary steps to increase the women education and create more employment opportunities to understand the drawbacks of population growth and control measures.

Family Planning Facilities

Rural India is backward in implementing the family planning facilities which are only available in urban and semi-urban areas. The government of India should take initiatives to implement the family planning programmes in rural areas to lower the birth rate of with trained personnel.

Religious Beliefs

Most of the world's religions encourage the non-use of birth control methods. The Catholic Church, one of the largest in the world, criticizes birth control as a way to prevent pregnancy. Religions such as Islam and Christians encourage the idea of producing as many as possible.

Adopting birth Control Mechanisms

Lack of birth control options and awareness about the population growth are major factors of population growth. Most of the Indian women are illiterates and they are poorly educated about their reproductive capabilities and how to control them. A lack of government and social progress in educating these women has led to generations of women failing to use birth control methods to limit the birth rate. It causes many women to breed more children than are needed in their country.

Financial Incentives

Some countries which are less populated are offering financial incentives to produce more children. This is already applied in the United States by assisting the parents with tax deductions with day to day costs of a child.

Mortality Rate

The most important factor for the population growth is the mortality rate among humans. Due to the increased medical facilities mortality rate has been decreased in a significant way.

3. How can we reduce the population growth?


Population explosion is the main obstacle to the smooth development of the Indian economy. Since this problem is getting powerful day by day, it is obvious to take appropriate measures to keep it under control by lowering the birth rate.

Urbanization and Industrialization

In the Indian society, joint family system encourages a high birth rate. But collectively it is creating side effects to the country in the form of more population. Hence every individual should put efforts to reduce the high birth rate.

Late Marriage

In India girls marry at an early age and a longer span of time to reduce children. Increasing the minimum age for marriages may also helpful to control the birth rate.

Lowering Infant Mortality Rate

In India, infant mortality rate is very high and stands at 72 per thousand. Poor people, in order to ensure that some children do survive, reproduce more. Therefore, widespread vaccination and proper child and maternity care should be undertaken to reduce the infant mortality rate.

Spread of Education

In India, 48 percent of total population are illiterate. Rural Indians regard children as the gift of God and they are not bother about the evils of population growth. Education is the only one weapon to move illiteracy and spread the benefit of a small family.

Women education and employment

As compare to other countries, Indian women are less educated and employed in the world. The Government should take initiatives to spread women education and create employment opportunities to understand the drawbacks of population growth and control measures.

Birth control at rural areas

In India, medical facilities that too family planning facilities are available in the urban and semi-urban areas. Rural people are not affordable to get these medical facilities. There is a need of setting up trained personnel in rural areas at their doorstep which can helpful to lower the birth rate.


The Government should provide both monetary and real incentives to people for adopting family planning measures. The sanctioned funds should be used in a proper way.

Urbanization and Industrialization

Encouragement of nuclear family system and Industrialization will help to reduce the high birth rate in an urbanized and industrialized economy.

Late Marriage

Elimination of early marriages can lead to reduce children for longer time. If we increase the minimum age for marriages in our country may helpful to control the birth rate which leads to reduce the population rate.


Widespread family planning measures to control the population may helpful in eradicating the population growth. The publicity medias like TV, news paper, radio and others should take initiatives to in reaching the people and creating awareness on the importance of a happy family.


Family planning should be adopted by passing the laws and the government should strictly pass the laws to lower the birth rate. The Government should also make the laws to rise the minimum age of marriage, compulsory education up to high school level, termination of pregnancy and abolition of child labour.


Minimizing the population growth is not a national phenomenon it is a global issue and it needs collaborative approach to be undertaken by the countries who can afford to do so. The effects of population growth may be beneficial to a certain extent and the population exceeds the natural resources available to sustain it. This is called as overpopulation.

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