The study of human resources is important from the point of view of economic welfare. It is particularly important because human beings are not only instruments of production but also ends in themselves. A study of population is necessary as it is an important determinant of economic development
The term population refers to the whole number of people or inhabitants in a country or region.
The basic factors determining population growth are
Birth rate has a positive influence on growth of population. Higher the birth rate, higher will be the growth of population.
The birth rate depends on the following factors:
the age of marriage
the rapidity of child birth
social customs and beliefs and
Illiteracy and ignorance of controlling births.
Early marriage, higher child birth, higher the spread of social customs and beliefs (like son preference to do the religious functions) and higher the rate of illiteracy and ignorance of birth controlling measures, higher will be the birth rate and population growth.
Social awareness and spread of education among the people can help to increase the mean age of marriage, increase the knowledge about family planning methods and family welfare measures to control births, reduce the rapidity of child birth and thereby reduce the birth rate.
Lower the death rate, higher will be the population growth and vice versa. High death rates may be due to hunger, starvation, malnutrition, epidemics, lack of proper medical and sanitary facilities. On the other hand, low death rates may be the result of better diet, pure drinking water, improved hospital facilities, control of epidemics and contagious diseases and better sanitation.
Out-migration will reduce population growth while in-migration will increase the population growth.
Migration is not an important factor contributing to the population growth due to the restrictions imposed by different countries. Thus, the two major causes for the variations in population are birth rate and death rate.
Population growth can be both a stimulant as well as an obstacle to economic development.
In a backward economy, population growth results in increase in supply of labour. This in turn results in the availability of cheap labour in the economy. Therefore, under a given technology with the availability of capital, production can be increased by increasing the labour use.
Population growth results in increased demand for products. Increased demand results in increased production, employment and income in the economy. As a result, the economy will develop.
Due to population growth, the supply of goods and services increases. Increased supply results in increased production, which in turn results in specialisation. Specialisation will induce technological improvements.
Increased demand and increased supply of products result in scarcity of resources, which induce technological improvements.
Population explosion means the alarming and rapid rate of increase in population.
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