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India: Population

Geography

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Census

A census is an official enumeration of population done periodically. In India, the first census was held in the year 1872. The first complete census, however, was taken in the year 1881. Since then censuses have been held regularly every tenth year. 

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India's population size and distribution by numbers

India's population as on March 2001 stood at 1,028 million, which account for 16.7 percent of the worlds population. Uttar Pradesh accounts for about 16 percent of the country's population. On the other hand, the Himalayan state Sikkim has a population of just about 0.5 million and Lakshadweep has only 60 thousand people. 

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India's population distribution by density

 Population density is calculated as the number of persons per unit area. India is one of the most densely populated countries of the world. Densities vary from 904 persons per sq km in West Bengal to only 13 persons per sq km in Arunachal Pradesh. Assam and most of the Peninsular states have moderate population densities. The Northern Plains and Kerala in the south have high to very high population densities.

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Population growth

Growth of population refers to the change in the number of inhabitants of a country/territory during a specific period of time, say during the last ten years. Such a change can be expressed in two ways: in terms of absolute numbers and in terms of percentage change per year. 

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Processes of Population Change/Growth

There are three main processes of change of population : birth rates, death rates and migration. 
Birth rate is the number of live births per thousand persons in a year. 
Death rate is the number of deaths per thousand persons in a year. 
Migration is the movement of people across regions and territories. 

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The people of India

Despite having different languages, physical traits and diverse cultural and religious practices, the people of India have stood together and have fought adversities with great fortitude and courage.

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Factors affecting the distribution and the density of population

Factors influencing the distribution and density of population in India are as follows: (1) Terrain (2) Climate (3) Soil (4) Water bodies (5) Mineral resources (6) Industries (7) Transport and (8) Urbanisation.

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National Population Policy of India

National Population Policy (NPP) 2000 includes immediate objective of addressing the unmet needs for contraception, healthcare infrastructure and health personnel and child health care. The medium-term objective of this policy is to bring the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) to replacement level. The long-term objective is to achieve a stable population by 2045. 

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High and low density of population

To describe distribution of population the word 'density' is used. The total population of a area divided by its area gives density. Usually it is described as number of people living in per square kilometer area. Some areas have high density and some have low density of population.
High density: These areas have more than 500 people per square km.
Low density: These areas have less than 250 people per square km.

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Optimum population

Optimum population is that size of population that enables maximum per capita output by the highest possible living standards under a given set of economic and technological conditions. It is a theoretically perfect situation, but difficult to estimate or define. Optimum population means each person has access to adequate food, water, energy and air of highest quality, adequate medical care, recreational facilities and cultural outlets.