Long Answer Type Questions. [5 Marks]

1. What is the census? Why is it important for a country to conduct censuses periodically?

Ans. A census is an official enumeration of population done periodically. The counting is conducted usually every tenth year. The data collected regarding every aspect of the population is then compiled in a book and the whole process is called the census.

The various uses of a census are as follows :

(i) A census provides us with information regarding the population of the country.

(ii) It is the most comprehensive source of demographic, social and economic data.

(iii) It provides us with information regarding population size and distribution. Therefore, it helps in planning the development of various regions.

(iv) The comparison of census reports of various decades helps in identifying the trend of population growth. This helps in resource planning.

(iv) The level of economic and social development of a country can be identified from the occupational structure and literacy rates provided in the census.

2. What is population growth? Briefly explain it.

Ans. It refers to the change in the number of inhabitants of a country during a given period of time. This change can be expressed in absolute numbers or in percentage. The absolute increase can be calculated by subtracting the earlier population from the latter population. For example, the difference between the population between 2001 and 2011. The absolute numbers added each year or decade is the magnitude of increase. The rate at which population is increasing is a very important aspect. It is calculated per cent per annum, e.g. if the increase 2 per cent per annum it means that there was an increase of two persons for every 100 persons in the base population. This is known as the annual growth rate of population.

India’s population has been steadily increasing from 361 million in 1951 to 1,210 million in 2011.

3. Why knowledge about population growth is important? Discuss.

Ans. The population of a country is its most important resource because they are both the producers and consumers of resources. They are the workforce of a country. However, at the same time, more hands to work also mean more mouths to feed. The development of a country is determined by its population in relation to the available resources. Therefore, it is important to know about the population growth of a country. It helps in resource planning. It gives the government an idea about the requirements of health and educational facilities within the country. The economic development of a country is also influenced by population growth. In developed countries, population growth is lower; therefore, they enjoy a better standard of living. While in developing countries with high population growth, the growing population becomes a burden for the country, affecting the physical and social environment.

4. Describe the reasons behind the high density of population in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Ans. Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state of India and has a population density of 689 persons per sq. km. West Bengal has a high population density of 904 persons per sq. km. The high density of population in these states is on account of the following reasons :

(a) Both states are located in the Ganga Plains. The Ganga Plains are characterised by flat terrain, fertile soil and abundant supply of water. These conditions are favourable for agriculture and support other means of livelihood as well.

(b) The flat land provides favourable conditions for settlement, for setting up of industries and for improving the infrastructure of the region. Work opportunities and better living conditions attract population.

(c) Suitable climate and abundant rainfall.

(d) Location of metro cities like Kolkata in West Bengal and big cities like Lucknow, Agra, Kanpur and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh.

5. Discuss the factors responsible for the distribution of population in India.

Ans. The distribution of population in India is not uniform. While Uttar Pradesh has a population size of 166 million, the Himalayan state of Sikkim has a population of just 0.6 million. Almost half of India’s population lives in just five states – Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.

The main factors responsible for the uneven distribution of population in India are as follows.

Climate: Areas with favourable climate and high rainfall like the coastal plain and the Northern Plains have a high population density. Heavy monsoon rains bring agricultural prosperity in these areas and support a big density of population. On the other hand, regions with a harsh climate like the Himalayan region and the Indian desert have sparse population. Thus, Rajasthan, the largest state in terms of size, has only 5.5 per cent of the total population of India.

Relief: The varied relief features of the vast country has influenced the distribution of the population. As such, the Northern Plains with flat, fertile terrain and the coastal plains have higher population densities. The peninsular states with hilly, dissected and rocky terrain has moderate densities. While the mountainous region in the north and northeast have a sparse population on account of the rugged terrain.

Soil: The fertile alluvial soil of the plains are favourable for agriculture and support large populations. Areas with shallow and less fertile soil have lesser populations.

Mineral wealth: The mining areas of the peninsular plateau attract population.

Industrial centres, ports, commercial centres, metro cities have high population densities because of better opportunities for livelihood and greater facilities.

6. Discuss the advantage of having a higher percentage of young people in a country.

Ans. Young people are the most prized resource for a country. They have the highest work efficiency and comprise a great part of the country’s workforce. They are economically most productive and contribute greatly to the economic development and prosperity of the country. In an agricultural country like India where a large number of agricultural labourers are required, a large young population helps in increasing the productivity of agriculture. They also help in industrial development as they are more active and painstaking. The younger people are more innovative and contribute to the development of new technologies for the advancement of the country. A higher percentage of young people also means social and cultural advancement in the country. The youths are more advanced and have free thinking. They are the ones to campaign against social evils and bring forward social reforms to do away with vices like child marriage, dowry, discrimination against girl child and illiteracy. The young people are biologically most productive. They bring the future human resources to the world. A higher percentage of young people in the country also means a healthy population and less expenditure on health programmes.

7. What are the main causes of rapid population growth in India? Explain any three.

Ans. India’s total population has increased from 236 million in 1901 to 361 million in 1951 to 1,028 million (approximately 1.03 billion) as on March 2001. India accounts for 16.7 per cent of the world’s population. India is the second-most populous country in the world after China.

(i) Birth rates have always been high in India, which has always been the main factor behind rising population.

(ii) But due to the advent of better medical facilities and public health measures as well as with control of epidemics and infectious diseases with the advancement of medical science, there has been a rapid decline in the death rate in India. The fall in the death rate has gone still further since independence because of the extension of hospitals and medical facilities, a decrease in infant mortality and the rise in nutrition level due to better opportunities for livelihood. As the natural increase in population is the difference between birth rates and death rates, high birth rates and declining death rates resulted in higher rates of population growth.

(iii) The monsoon climate of India, its rich, fertile river plains supporting high agricultural productivity, its mineral wealth have all supported a huge population in India.​