Population : Distribution, Density, Growth and Composition

Population is defined as a group of individuals of the same species, occupying a particular space at a particular time. India is the second most populous country after China in the world with its total population of 1,210 million (2011). The distribution of population is highly uneven in our country.

Population distribution is highly uneven in India. 76% of the total population stays in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Gujarat. Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have a large area, but a small population.

The density of population is defined as number of persons per unit area. Population density helps in the better understanding of spatial distribution of population in relation to land. There was a steady increase in the density of population from 117 persons per sq km in 1951, to 382 persons per sq km in 2011.

There are two types of densities on the basis of which we can get a better understanding of human-land ratio. Physiological density: Total population / Net cultivated Area Agricultural density: Total Agricultural Population / Net cultivable area Growth of population is the change in the number of people living in a particular area between two points of time. Its rate is expressed in percentage.

Two components of population growth are: Natural growth: It is analysed by assessing the crude birth and death rates. Induced growth: It is assessed by the volume of inward and outward movement of people in any given area. There are four phases of population growth in India. The period from 1901-1921 is referred to as a period of stagnant growth of India’s population. The high birth rate was counterbalanced by high death rate. The decades 1921-1951 are referred to as the period of steady population growth. The mortality rate started showing downward trend as a result of improvement in general health and sanitation conditions after 1921.

The decades 1951-1981 are referred to as the period of population explosion as there was a steep fall in the mortality rate but the fertility remained stubbornly high.

In the post 1981 till present, the growth rate of country’s population though remained high, has started slowing down gradually. The Indian population increased to 1.21 billion with a decadal growth of 17.64% on 31 March 2011.

Population Composition is a study within population geography with a vast coverage of analysis of age, sex, place of residence, ethnic characteristics, tribes, language, religion, marital status, literacy and education, occupational characteristics, etc.

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