The term “demographics” refers to the size and structure of the human population of a certain area. Demography is the study of the population in detail, examining facets such as the birth rate, fertility, literacy and so on. This provides vital information regarding trends, dangers and areas of focus for government and other major organisations.India is a particularly interesting to examine as its population is so sizeable. In fact, this relatively small country has the second highest population in the world, currently at approximately 1.2 billion people. For thousands of years, India was rural, with the vast majority of its residents being farmers and artisans. The 1900’s saw the urban lifestyle increased by over 11 times its original proportion. The general increase in population (both urban and rural) has been attributed to the increase of productivity amongst farmers as well as the vastly improved medical facilities and treatments now available to these people. The largest cities have populations of 10 million people, while there are dozens of cities that are home to over one million people each. Despite such sizeable and populous city centres, there remains to be almost three quarters
of the population living in rural areas.
Most Indians are Hindu, with approximately 80% of the inhabitants subscribing to this faith. Muslims make up less than 15%, while Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs each only fulfil very small percentages. This percentage of Muslim people is the highest in the world for a country not dominated by this faith. Hindi has the largest number of speakers, although English is often used for many business interactions and processes as well as in education. There are two main linguistic families; Indo-Aryan and Dravidic. Indo-Aryan is by far the most common, spoken by about 75% of the Indian population. There are also various small indigenous tribes, which are each unique in their language and religion.
Literacy has, for many decades, been a major problem in India. The rural population has not had much exposure to and opportunity for education. This led to a state of very high illiteracy rates, which resulted in low employment rates and a generally bleak outlook. However, in recent years, the literacy rate of the locals has increased to an average of about 58% in females and 76% in males.
There are slightly more males than females (about 933:1000) and the average population density is 324 people per square kilometre. Most families have about three children and people live to an average of 69 years of age.
Although this country continues to develop in leaps and bounds, it still faces many threats to its population. Almost one million people die every year from drinking diseased and contaminated water and about half of the children are underweight. Over 40% of toddlers under the age of three years suffer from malnutrition. Malaria is another major factor to consider, as is the severe shortage of trained and qualified doctors.
India’s demographics change on a continuous basis. Regular censuses are conducted in order to track changes and trends and better manage the various aspects of managing and developing a country.