Causes of Population Explosion
High Birth rate is a major cause responsible for the rapid growth of population. In India, although the birth rate has declined from 45.8 per thousand during the period 1891-1900 to about 25.8 per thousand in 2001, it is still considered to be substantially high. This shows that the birth rate has not come down considerably in spite of the increase in the widespread propaganda of family planning, family welfare programmes and population education campaigns.
The phenomenal fall in the death rate in recent years is another important factor that has contributed to the rapid increase in population. The death rate in India is about 8.5 per thousand in 2001. Due to advancement in medical science, dreadful and chronic diseases such a small pox, cholera, plague, typhoid are no longer dreaded. Better facilities for sanitation and cleanliness, provision of pre-natal and post-natal care has reduced infant mortality rate.
The practice of early marriage is another important reason for the rapid increase in population in India. The mean age of marriage for girls is about 18 years, which is low, compared to the other countries of the world, which is about 23 to 25 years. This results in a longer span for reproductive activity and the increase in the number of children.
In India, every person has to marry because marriage is a compulsory institution as per social norms. In joint family system, nobody feels individual responsibility and everybody has access to equal level of consumption. Therefore, people do not hesitate to increase the size of the family. Most of the people think that at least one male child should be born in the family. In the expectation of getting a male child, they go on increasing the family size.
Poverty is another cause which contributes to the increase in population. Children are source for income of the family. The children at a very young age help their parents in work, instead of going to school and thus prove to be an asset for the family. Every additional child will become an earning member and thus supplement the family income.
People whose standard of living is low tend to have more children because an additional child is considered as an asset rather than a liability. Since a majority of the population is uneducated, they are unable to understand the need for family planning. They are unaware that a smaller size of family will help them enjoy a better standard of living.
A major part of the population (about 60%) in India is either illiterate or has the minimum education. This leads them to accept minimal work in which they cannot even support themselves. Unemployment and under-employment further lead to poverty. Moreover due to the prevalence of higher rate of illiteracy, there is widespread ignorance in the form of social customs and beliefs like early marriage and preference for a male child. As a result, there is high rate of population growth in the country.