Human Population may be defined as a group of organisms belonging to one species which occupy a given area. It has characteristics which are a function of the whole group and not of the individuals.
These are population density, birth rate, death rate, age distribution, biotic potential, rate of dispersion and growth form.
Although individuals are born and die, but they do not have birth rates and death rates. These are the characteristics of the human population as a whole.
All the human populations inhabiting the same area constitute a biotic community.
TERMS ASSOCIATED WITH HUMAN POPULATION
1. Demography : The branch of science dealing with the statistical study of human population is called demography.
It deals with fluctuations in population i.e., growth or decline, human population composition i.e., age groups and population density.
2. Population density : The number of individuals of a species per unit area at a given time is called population density. Larger cities have a greater population density than smaller cities or rural areas.
Country wise Japan 280 persons / Km2, India 240 /Km2 and Brazil only 15 persons / Km2 gives a clear idea of human population density in different countries.
3. Birth rate (Natality) : It is the number of live births produced per thousand people of the population per year.
4. Death rate (Mortality) : It is the number of deaths per thousand people of the human population per year.
5. Population growth rate : It is the number of persons added per 100 people of a human population per year. It depends upon the difference between the birth rate and death rate.
As long as the birth rate exceeds from death rate the human population increases. If the birth rate is lower than the death rate the population decreases.
WORLD POPULATION GROWTH
Human population was very thin in the beginning and remained so for a long time. At that time, humans lived very simple life. They knew nothing about farming so they used to kill animals and ate raw or roasted in fire.
They wandered from place to place in search of food and escape from enemies. They collected fruits, roots and leaves from wild plants.
They lived in caves to protect, themselves from wild animals. Meanwhile, as the years passed, they started living in groups for safety reasons. They learnt to domesticate animals for their benefits.
Then stone age came, they came to know the use of improved tools (tool making revolution), which helped them to improve their life standard.
They soon learnt about agriculture, and the time then came to move towards the metal age. As a result of all these progressive changes made by humans, gradually their human population started growing at a faster rate.
POPULATION IN INDIA
India has already crossed 1.21 billion mark and is predicted that it could become world’s most populous country by the year 2025 or so.
If there is no further check or control, there will be very less land areas left, that a person could avail in near future.
The trend of human population rise in India is alarming. India’s population has galloped by nearly five times from 1901 to 2011 and still it is going on increasing.
This could lead to a huge pressure on our natural resources since their increasing demand will lead to their depletion.
Sharp prolific increase in the human population of human beings is called population explosion.
Reasons for rapid rise in population
There are three main reasons that favoured steep rise in human population. These are:
- Agricultural revolution : The production of food was considerably increased due to which nutritional deficiencies and starvation deaths decreased. This provided improved means of livelihood and the population moved upwards rapidly.
- Industrial revolution : It began around 17th century, when these rapidly growing industries made the human life very comfortable and job oriented. This revolution was followed by a rapid rise in human population.
- Scientific revolution : The remarkable discoveries in medical sciences made it easier to discover the causes, treatment and control of many dreadful diseases. Vaccination and immunization against many diseases caused revolution. Death rates reduced considerably at all age groups specially in infants and the old. More children in the family began to reach the reproductive age. As they reproduced, the growth of population began to rise very rapidly.
Main reasons for population explosion (sharp rise) in the world
- Better health care : At all age groups doctors and hospitals are always available for help.
- Fewer mortality: During birth, better and qualified nurses and midwives are available in the maternity home. It decreases mortality.
- Large-scale immunization: Mass immunization against communicable diseases.
- Minimized food shortage : More food is produced and stored due to which very few starvation deaths are seen.
- Improved and balanced nutrition : Specially for growing children.
- Average life of human : Lifespan has increased because of better medical facilities, balanced diet, etc.
Main reasons for population explosion (sharp rise) in India
- Illiteracy : Illiteracy specially in rural areas where they are unaware of the functioning of human reproductive system. Do not understand the consequences of large families. They are ignorant and superstitious.
- Desire for a male child : In India people feel that their family name continues only because of the male child. Moreover, a male child will be of a great help in the old age of the parents.
- Gift of God : People belonging to lower society and those living in rural areas believe that children are gift of God. Therefore, they make no effort to avoid pregnancy.
- Lack of recreation : Poor standard of living and poverty do not provide any recreation other than sex.
- Family income : Children born in very low income group are considered to be the helping hands to increase the family income.
- Universality of marriages : Marriage is considered highly sacred in our country. Everyone gets married and contributes to increase in human population.
- Early marriages : In rural areas still the girls are forced to marry at early ages between 12-16 years that results in larger reproductive life and thus more children.
- Lack of family planning : Indian people are ignorant about family planning techniques. Religious belief has resulted in less adoption of these measures.
- Mortality rate among low income group : Due to high infant mortality rate in our country, low income group people think it safer to produce more children so that some of them may survive.
Consequences of overpopulation
Any further increase in human population can create various problems. As we have fixed resources, the basic necessities of life are adversely affected. Overpopulation not only affects large families but it affects the country as a whole.
The impacts of overpopulation can be studied at two levels :
I. Effects of overpopulation on large families.
II. Effects of overpopulation on the country.
I. Effects of overpopulation on large families :
- Food : Large families with moderate means are unable to provide adequate and balanced diet to the children.
- Education : Increase in human population has led to the lowering of educational standards because of commercialization.
- Medical aid : Proper medical aids are beyond the reach of large families.
- Sanitation : Sanitary conditions have gone out of gear due to overpopulation and led to many diseases.
- Household goods : Household essential goods are becoming insufficient because of increase in human population. Their prices are rising beyond the reach of a common man.
- Poverty : A large family with a single earning hand often remains poor because of increased consumption of various essential goods.
II. Effects of population explosion on the country
- Population explosion and increased consumption : To meet the needs of ever-increasing population, more food, more space, more means of transportation, more educational institutions, more health centres, etc. Overconsumption of various needs of human beings has resulted in ecological imbalance. To increase the production of food, more agricultural land is needed. It has resulted in deforestation which has far-reaching effects. are needed.
- Population explosion and urbanization: Urbanization or urban drift is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change.
The control of human population can be achieved by reducing the birth rate. In order to reduce the birth rate, people should be properly educated and should know about methods of family planning.
(1) Education : Education plays an important role to understand the various consequences of the human population explosion. People from the reproductive age group, if educated, can play a key role to check the population growth.
The message about human population problem must reach as many people as possible. The orthodox view of having at least one son should be modified by education. Marriageable age for boys 21 years and girls 18 years under the law must be followed strictly.
The married couple must be educated to delay the first baby, to space the second with a sufficient interval of time and stop the third. They must be advised to use family planning methods.
(2) Family planning : Family planning is a very important method to check the overflow of population. For the last two decades various attempts have been made to introduce family planning in rural as well as urban areas.
The result for the above efforts in India is that the birth rate has slightly come down from 41.7 to 38.4 per 1000 human population.
The voluntary family planning programme is not very successful. As a result, our government has framed a tentative programme of compulsory sterilization for those people who have produced two children.
The programme was further enhanced by the people making voluntary use of various birth control devices and methods.
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