Population is the total number of individuals of a species in a particular area at a given time. Here we will discuss about human population.
The scientific study of human population is called demography. There has been a tremendous growth in human population over the years and this rapid growth is called exponential growth.
In 1700 AD human population was about 0.6 million, in 1850 AD-1 billion; in 1930 AD- 2 billion, in 1965-3.5 billion, in 1975-4 billion, in 1990-5 billion, in 2000-6.1 billion and in 2011-7 billion.
The reasons for population explosion are:
(i) Increase in longevity
(ii) Decrease in death rate
(iii) Role of reproductive and child health care programmes
(iv) Control of diseases
(v) Improvements in medical facilities
(vi) Advancement in agriculture, improvement in food storage conditions and better transport facilities
(vii) Protection from natural calamities and
(viii) Role of certain religions against family planning.
Malthus Theory of Human Population Growth:
T.R. Malthus, a British economist, put forwarded a theory of human population growth in the year 1798. According to his theory,
(i) Population growth occurs in geometric progression i.e. 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32………. whereas the food supply for its subsistence can grow in arithmetic progression i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7…………….
(ii) After some time an imbalance would occur in the population and the environment.
(iii) When the imbalance reaches certain level, some factors like hunger, epidemics, floods, earthquakes, war, etc. will bring the population to a desired level.
This population crash is called ‘catastrophic control’ of population. These factors were called ‘positive checks’ by Malthus.
Mass media and educational institutions can educate people in reproductive age group the concept of happy family i.e. each couple can maximum go upto two children or they should adopt one child norm.
(ii) Age of marriages:
It is an effective method of population control. In India now the marriageable age for female is 18 years and that of male is 21 years.
Couples with small families should be given incentives.
(iv) Family planning:
There are many birth control measures which can control the birth rate.