Divisha Singh, Dr. Sanjana Sharma Marwaha

Department of Sociology, Amity Institute of Social Science (AISS)

Amity University, Noida 201303


Given that India has 17.99% of the world’s population, it is reasonable to assume that one in every six people on the planet calls India home. India, the second-most populous nation in the world, is expected to overtake China in the coming years in terms of population. India is anticipated to become world’s most populous nation by 2024. In 2017, its population growth rate of 1.13% placed it at 112 in the world. In India, more than 50% of people are under 25 and more than 65% are under 35. The average age of an Indian was predicted to be 29 years old in 2020, with a dependency ratio of just over 0.4. Both means and ends of economic development are people. If they are in adequate strength, they can be an asset, but if they are in excess, they can become a liability. In India, the population has outgrown its capacity and is now a liability. Therefore, the issue of India’s population explosion has proven to be a major obstacle to the success of economic planning and development.

On one hand, according to the 2001 Census, with 166 million inhabitants Uttar Pradesh has the highest population density in India, on the other hand, states like Sikkim having a population of 0.5 million and Lakshadweep’s island state having a population of only 60,000, they are the least populous states. It is notable that five major states namely Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh together account for about half of India’s population. Rajasthan is the largest state in terms of area, only 5.5% of all Indians live there.

Although India’s GDP has grown rapidly over the past 20 years, overpopulation could not have a negative impact on it. Despite India being the third-largest economy with a GDP (PPP) of $10.40 trillion, due to the country’s rapid population growth, it is still ranked 116th in terms of per capita income and 130th in terms of HDI.

The explosion of population has a negative impact on living standards. Unemployment, food shortages, low per capita income, issues with capital formation, social issues, economic insecurity, social insecurity, increased pressure on the environment, and social insecurity are all caused by overpopulation.

The population changes have had a great impact on India’s economic planning and development. Despite its growing human resource base and wealth of natural resources, India continues to be regarded as a developing country. India is still unable to effectively utilize its natural resources for the benefit of the country’s expanding population. Due to inadequate and poor housing conditions, mediocre medical care in many places and malnutrition, poverty is rife in India. India’s current situation is characterized by a dearth of health care and educational resources, a lack of electricity in many villages, and insufficient food for a sizable portion of the population.


The extent of overpopulation depends not only on the size or density of the population, but also on the ratio of population to sustainable resource. The management and distribution of our natural resources among the entire population also play a role. The problem of overpopulation places significant barriers in the way of economic growth. According to estimates, population growth has an impact on the global land use patterns for agriculture, the amount of forest cover, and the proximity of various types of water bodies. Our natural resources such as land, water, forests, and ecosystem services are under extreme pressure because of the rapid growth of the human population.


  1. PROBLEM OF INVESTMENT REQUIREMENT: It is well known that India’s population is expanding at a much faster rate than the other developing nations. Larger investments are required to reach a specific rate of increase in per capita income. Even though India’s GDP and per capita income both have increased over the past ten years, per capita income growth is currently very sluggish due to overpopulation. This has a negative impact on the economy’s growth rate. In India, the population is growing at a rate of 1.15 percent annually, and the capital output ratio is 4:1. It implies that an investment of (4 x 1.15) percent is needed to maintain the current economic growth rate.
  2. EFFECT ON PER CAPITA INCOME: A large population and rapid growth are the causes of low per capita income. India’s economy is currently the third largest in the world, but its per capita income is still 116th. Although per capita income has increased over the past 20 years, due to population growth, it is doing so very slowly.
  3. PROBLEM OF CAPITAL FORMATION: The growth of capital formation is hampered by India’s excessive population. High birth rate and low life expectancy indicate that there are many people belonging to dependent age group in the overall population. In India, people under the age of 14 make up about 35% of the population. The majority of these people rely on others for their survival. They are unproductive consumers who limit people’s ability to save. As a result, capital formation has declined. Overpopulation is thus one of the obstacles to capital formation.
  4. EFFECT ON FOOD AVAILABILITY: One of the main factors contributing to India’s food crisis is the population explosion. Due to insufficient food production in contrast to rising demand, a huge segment of population is condemned to malnourishment and starvation.  Sizable portion of agricultural land is turning into urban areas to build homes, cities, roads, and other infrastructure. This results in the food shortage across the nation.
  5. UNEMPLOYMENT: One of India’s biggest problems is unemployment of which overpopulation is a major contributor. In India, a large population translates into a large labor force. However, a country finds it challenging to offer gainful employment to the entire working population due to a lack of capital resources. An underdeveloped nation like India is characterized by open unemployment in urban areas and disguised unemployment in rural areas.
  6. LOW STANDARD OF LIVING: The high rate of population growth is to blame for India’s low standard of living. Even the most basic necessities of life are insufficiently available. Pressure on hospitals, schools, transportation systems, railroads, and other public services grows as the population increases.
  7. BURDEN OF UNPRODUCTIVE CONSUMERS: Due to population growth there are a lot of people in the dependent age group in India. Many people between the ages of 15 and 59, as well as people over the age of 60, struggle to find work. In 2001, only 39.2% of the population was employed, and 60.8% of those employed were inefficient. Effective saving is adversely impacted by this dependence.
  8. POVERTY: One of India’s biggest problems is poverty which is getting worse due to population growth. According to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDG) program, in 2011–2012, 270 million, or 21.9%, of India’s 1.2 billion people were living below the $1.25 per day poverty line. People must spend a lot of energy and resources in raising their wards. Less saving and a low rate of capital formation are the outcomes. As a result, improving production methods is impossible. It denotes low labor productivity.
  9. SOCIAL PROBLEMS: There are many social issues that result from overpopulation. People move from rural to urban areas which fuels the expansion of slum areas where sanitary and hygienic conditions are not available. The educated youth are frustrated and angry as a result of unemployment and poverty. This results in theft, beggarly behavior, prostitution, murder, etc.
  10. MORE PRESSURE ON LAND: Increased population growth puts more strain on the environment. The problem of subdivision and holdings being fragmented is getting worse while the amount of land available per person is continuously declining. Construction of industries, roads, cities, and other infrastructure takes up more and more agricultural land. A higher rate of consumption damages the biosphere and produces more toxic wastes and pollution. It has a negative impact on the nation’s economic development. In a nutshell, population growth is a hindrance to economic growth. It needs to be effectively managed.


The population of India is enormous and growing quickly. A population growth rate of 1% would add 1 crore people annually, but the current rate of population growth is greater than 1%, meaning that more than 1 crore people are being added annually. Effective population control measures are urgently needed for the welfare of society. As is common knowledge, the birth rate is primarily to blame for the rapid population growth. Therefore, policies that can lower the birth rate ought to be implemented.


  2. Late marriage: For both men and women, the government has set a minimum marriage age of 21 years. Marriage should be solemnized at the age of 30 years, as far as possible. This will reduce the period of reproduction among the females and will consequently bring down the birth rate.
  3. Women empowerment: Women are not viewed as having the same power and force as men in the majority of developing nations. People continue to have children in an effort to produce more sons than daughters. A healthy and informed society will be achieved by giving women the ability to have a voice in issues that affect them, such as childbirth, by empowering them to fight discrimination.
  4. Education: Education is the answer to majority of issues. The foundation of a person’s and a nation’s economy is education. People with education can easily comprehend the negative effects that a high population growth rate has. Education, especially for women, can be a powerful tool for population control. The benefits of a small family are simple to comprehend for an educated man and woman. Without adequate education, the majority of initiatives, including empowerment of women and awareness campaigns, will prove ineffective and pointless.
  5. Family planning: This approach suggests having a family voluntarily, not by accident. The birth rate can be controlled by people taking preventive action. The ability to plan a family largely depends on the accessibility of affordable birth control methods and adequate healthcare facilities. The government should offer a range of incentives to encourage people to use birth control.
  7. Creating employment opportunities: In order to increase people’s income, the government should create an increasing number of jobs. People will adopt small families rather than large ones as a result, raising their standard of living.
  8. Development of agriculture and industry: Many people will get employed if agriculture and industry are properly developed. When their earnings rise, they would raise their standard of living and adopt customs related to small families.
  9. Standard of living: The rise in living standards acts as a deterrent to the norm of large families. The majority of people prefer to have a small family in order to maintain their higher standard of living. Govt. should make significant efforts to raise peoples’ standards of living.
  10. Incentives: The government should offer a range of incentives to encourage people to use birth control. Offering incentives for education, health, or even money can be a very successful measure. Small family norms can be adopted with the aid of incentive policies, such as paying a certain amount of money to those who have no more than two children or providing free or heavily discounted education for a single child.


In this article, I have looked at the problem of over-population from the perspective of economy and society. Population in India is growing at an alarming rate and has created a number of issues relating to economy and society. Despite India being the third largest economy in the world, it is still placed at 116th and 130th ranks in terms of per capita income and HDI respectively, hence Over-population in any country threatens its development in all aspects. I have also listed various social and economic measures that can be taken to control population.


Per capita income, Human development index (HDI), population control, unemployment.