India’s population problems


People with different cultures and languages have been living together in India for thousands of years. While there are hundreds of different languages on the subcontinent the official language is Hindi, while most people speak English too.  About 80% of the Indian population is Hindu. Muslims are the biggest minority.

Today India is the home to over 1 billion people. By 2050 it will surpass China as the most populous country in the world. Experts think that India will reach a total of 1.8 billion before population growth begins to decrease. In contrast to China’s one-child policy, family planning in India has not been consistent. In the 1970s and 80s the government tried to control population growth by forcing people to have sterilizations. Today, however, there are signs that population growth is slowing down.  Contraception is becoming widely available in many areas and especially Indian women in rural areas are being more educated.

Every Indian woman gets almost 3 children, compared to a little over one child per family in the west. As in many Asian societies children are needed to do work and care for family members when they get older. Boys are more valuable than girls, who marry at an early age. About a third of India’s population is under 14, which makes it one of the youngest countries on earth. Apart from that India still has the largest proportion of people who cannot read and write.

More than 70% of Indian people live in the countryside, in smaller villages and towns. As the rural population is becoming poorer more and more people are moving to the big cities where they live in overcrowded slums with no electricity or clean water. As a result, cities like Mumbai, Calcutta and New Delhi are exploding with people they have no jobs for.

Overpopulation in India is causing even more problems. An increasing population living on the same land will quickly use up the limited resources the country has.  Medical conditions are getting worse and diseases are spreading faster. More and more Indians are living below the poverty line.


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  • billion = a thousand million
  • cause = lead to
  • compared to = to see how two or more things are different
  • consistent = to happen in the same way; constant
  • contraception = methods of preventing a woman to have a baby  ; birth control
  • decrease = to go down
  • disease = illness
  • electricity =  power that is carried in wires and cables and  is used to give us light and heat or to make machines work
  • especially = above all
  • family planning =  controlling the number of children that are born
  • force = make people do something
  • growth = increase; when something goes up
  • however = but
  • in contrast to = something that is different
  • limited = not very great in amount or number
  • medical conditions = health care; doctors, hospitals etc..
  • minority = small group of people within a much larger group
  • official = formal
  • overcrowded = with too many people
  • overpopulation = when too many people live on a small amount of land
  • population = the people who live in a country
  • populous = full of people
  • poverty line =  when a person does not have enough money to by the things they need to live
  • proportion = number, share
  • reach = get to
  • resources = raw materials
  • rural = countryside
  • sign = signal
  • society = people in general
  • sterilization = an operation that stops a man from producing and a women from getting babies
  • subcontinent = part of a continent
  • surpass = overtake; be bigger than
  • valuable = worth
  • widely available = offered in many places