NCERT Class 12 Geography Population - Distribution Density Growth and Composition

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The people are very important component of a country. India is the second most populous country after China in the world with its total population of 1,028 million (2001). India’s population is larger than the total population of North America, South America and Australia put together. More often, it is argued that such a large population invariably puts pressure on its limited resources and is also responsible for many socio-economic problems in the country.

Distribution of Population

Examine Fig. 1.1 and try to describe the patterns of spatial distribution of population shown on it. It is clear that India has a highly uneven pattern of population distribution. The percentage shares of population of the states and Union Territories in the country (Appendix–i) show that Uttar Pradesh has the highest population followed by Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Check from the table (Appendix–i) that U.P., Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh along with Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Gujarat, together account for about 76 per cent of the total population of the country.

On the other hand, share of population is very small in the states like Jammu & Kashmir (0.98%), Arunachal Pradesh (0.11%) and Uttaranchal (0.83%) inspite of thesesstates having fairly large geographical area. Such an uneven spatial distribution of population in India suggests a close relationship between population and physical, socioeconomic and historical factors. As far as the physical factors are concerned, it is clear that climate along with terrain and availability of  water largely determines the pattern of the population distribution. Consequently, we observe that the North Indian Plains, deltas and Coastal Plains have higher proportion of population than the interior districts of southern and central Indian States, Himalayas, some of the north eastern and the western states. However, development of irrigation (Rajasthan), availability of mineral and energy resources (Jharkhand) and development of transport network (Peninsular States) have resulted in moderate to high proportion of population in areas which were previously very thinly populated.

Among the socio-economic and historical factors of distribution of population, important ones are evolution of settled agriculture and agricultural development; pattern of human settlement; development of transport network, industrialisation and urbanisation. It is observed that the regions falling in the river plains and coastal areas of India have remained the regions of larger population concentration. Even though the uses of natural resources like land and water in these regions have shown the sign of degradation, the concentration of population remains high because of an early history of human settlement and development of transport network. On the other hand, the urban regions of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Jaipur have high concentration of population due to industrial development and urbanisation drawing a large numbers of rural-urban migrants.

Density of Population

Density of population, is expressed as number of persons per unit area. It helps in getting a better understanding of the spatial distribution of population in relation to land. The density of population in India (2001) is 313 persons per sq km and ranks third among the most densely populated countries of Asia following Bangladesh (849 persons) and Japan (334 persons). There has been a steady increase of about 200 persons per sq km over the last 50 years as the density of population increased from 117 persons/ sq km in 1951 to 313 persons/sq km in 2001. 

The density of population, as discussed in the earlier paragraph, is a crude measure of human and land relationship. To get a better insight into the human-land ratio in terms of pressure of population on total cultivable land, the physiological and the agricultural densities should be found out which are significant for a country like India having a large agricultural population.



1 . Choose the right answers of the followings from the given options.

   (i) India’s population as per 2001 census is :

          (a) 1028 million                              (c) 3287 million

          (b) 3182 million                              (d) 20 million

   (ii) Which one of the following states has the highest density of population in India?

          (a) West Bengal                             (c) Uttar Pradesh

          (b) Kerala                                     (d) Punjab 

  (iii) Which one of the following states has the highest proportion of urban population in India according to 2001 Census?

          (a) Tamil Nadu                               (c) Kerala

          (b) Maharashtra                             (d) Gujarat

   (iv) Which one of the following is the largest linguistic group of India?

          (a) Sino – Tibetan                          (c) Austric

          (b) Indo – Aryan                            (d) Dravidian

2 . Answer the following questions in about 30 words.

   (i) Very hot and dry and very cold and wet regions of India have low density of population. In this light, explain the role of climate on the distribution of population.

   (ii) Which states have large rural population in India? Give one reason for such large rural population.

   (iii) Why do some states of India have higher rates of work participation than others?

   (iv) ‘The agricultural sector has the largest share of Indian workers.’ – Explain.

3 . Answer the following questions in about 150 words.

   (i) Discuss the spatial pattern of density of population in India.

  (ii) Give an account of the occupational structure of India’s population.


Please refer to attached file for NCERT Class 12 Geography Population - Distribution Density Growth and Composition


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