India Economic and Social Indicators

By | December 16, 2021

Demography and economic geography. – South Asian state. According to the 2011 census, the country had 1,210,854,977 residents, equal to 17% of the world population. It is the second most populated country in the world (1,267,401,849 residents in 2014, according to an estimate by UNDESA, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) and one of the most densely populated, which has seen a rapid increase over the last half century (43% more than in the 1991 census). It is a trend that does not seem destined to stop and, if one evaluates the birth control policies undertaken by China, the projections of the United Nations agencies indicate that India will be the most populated country in the world before 2026 (when we hypothesize 1.4 billion residents). The distribution of the population, while registering as many as 19 of the 29 Federated States over ten million residents, has areas of high concentration, among which the States Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar, with over 100 million residents, should be noted. In an already very populated country (the day after the birth of the new state, in 1951, there were already 358 million residents), the speed of growth assumes the characteristics of gigantism, having doubled the population in the short census interval 1981-2011. The proportional growth is fairly uniform: with the exception of eight states and two territories, all administrative units exceed the 40% increase in population between 1991 and 2011. The birth rate, nevertheless, has declined slowly, but progressive in recent years, falling below 20 ‰ starting from 2009 (18.1 ‰ in 2013, according to an estimate by the World Bank), although not uniformly (it oscillates between 13 ‰ in the State of Goa and 28, 2 ‰ of rural areas of Bihar), with a fertility value (2.5 children per woman) increasingly close to the minimum replacement value. A still sustained growth rate is therefore attributable to the reduction in mortality: according to data from the Indian government, in 2013 the death rate was 5.5 ‰ (halving compared to 1993), a higher value (7.9 ‰), however, according to the estimates of international organizations (not infrequently the data are different), in any case decreasing. Life expectancy has risen (67.8 years on average in 2014, according to a CIA estimate, Central Intelligence Agency), increasing by more than four years in the span of a decade; in any case, it is a value below the world average which places India in 131st place among the 190 UN member states. Infant mortality is estimated by the Indian Ministry of the Interior at 30 ‰ in 2013 (41.4 ‰ according to the World Bank), gradually decreasing, but still not corresponding to the values ​​expressed by Indian economic development in the era of globalization.

Economic and social indicators

The contradictions of a country so complex in social, as well as linguistic and religious terms, can be read not only in the low human development index (135th place in 2013, with an index of 0.586, the worst of the G20), but also in the tiring achievement of the objectives of reducing inequalities envisaged by the so-called Millennium Goals. If the poverty rate has been halved since the 1990s (in 2014 it was 21% of the population), the fight against hunger is still ongoing: in 2011, 37 million children between 0 and 3 years old were malnourished. The diffusion of toilets and latrines affects just over half of the homes, with very low values ​​in rural contexts (in 2012 they were less than 40%). Illiteracy, although decreasing (23.5% in 2011), is still high in the female component (31.5%), reaching 40% in the rural areas of the most populated states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar). The promotion of gender equality hardly acquires results, both in entering the labor market and in political representation. Gender imbalance is increasingly characterizing the country also in terms of birth rates: in 2011 the female component was higher only in the state of Kerala and in the territory of Pondicherry. In the 0-6 age group (104.6 million in 2011), boys prevail over girls in all states and territories, proof of a spread, even in recent times, of clandestine abortion practices to avoid births at female. For India business, please check

India has the largest rural population in the world (834 million people in 2011), but the urbanization process is growing at an extremely fast pace, from 290 million ‘urban’ in 2001 to 377 in 2011, a figure that is projected to rise to 590 million in 2030. There are eight metropolitan areas that in 2011 aggregated more than 5 million residents, with three of the most populated megacities in the world: Mumbai (18.4 million residents), New Delhi (16.3) and Calcutta (14.1), which the UN hypothesizes could exceed 20 million in 2030, the year in which Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad would exceed 10 million. At the scale of the individual municipalities there are 46 cities with millions of residents (19 more than in 2001), with Mumbai (12.4 million residents) and the capital (11 million) always in the lead, followed by the two most dynamic and rapidly expanding economic realities: Bangalore (8.4 million, 55% more than in 2001) and Hyderabad (6.8 million, an increase of 87%). Rapid urbanization, especially in the most dynamic contexts, proposes fundamental needs to be addressed in terms of new road, rail, telecommunications, airport and electrical systems. In the case of Hyderabad, road projects have been undertaken: overpasses, interchanges, overpasses, including a freeway that surrounds the city and an elevated corridor (the longest in the country) connecting the city with the distant international airport. These are efforts and investments that have not, however, banished congestion. Urbanization is seen as an indicator of positive economic development, provided that it is directed on a path of sustainable growth, as affirmed by national and local policies since the beginning of the century. Nonetheless, urbanization has also meant an increase in urban poverty, concentrated in the slums that characterize almost all Indian metropolises.

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