Key Demographics Indicators and Statistics related to India

Please Share with maximum friends to support the Initiative.

Key demographic terms and indicators and their statistics are relevant for mains answer writing. 

Relevance: Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

The maternal mortality ratio (MMR)

Defined as the number of maternal deaths during a given time period per 100,000 live births during the same time period. It depicts the risk of maternal death relative to the number of live births and essentially captures the risk of death in a single pregnancy or a single live birth. 


  • The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in India has declined to 113 in 2016-18 from 122 in 2015-17 and 130 in 2014-2016, according to the special bulletin on Maternal Mortality in India 2016-18, released by the Office of the Registrar General’s Sample Registration System (SRS)
  • The target 3.1 of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set by the United Nations aims to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 1,00,000 live births.

Total fertility rate (TFR)

  • In simple terms refer to the total number of children born or likely to be born to a woman in her lifetime if she were subject to the prevailing rate of age-specific fertility in the population. TFR of about 2.1 children per woman is called Replacement-level fertility (UN, Population Division).
  • This value represents the average number of children a woman would need to have to reproduce herself by bearing a daughter who survives to childbearing age. If replacement level fertility is sustained over a sufficiently long period, each generation will exactly replace itself without any need for the country to balance the population by international migration.

The replacement level is the number of children needed to replace the parents, after accounting for fatalities, skewed sex ratio, infant mortality, etc. The population starts falling below this level.

Indian Case

  • In 1950-55, India’s total fertility rate (TFR, a measure of live births per woman in her lifespan of the reproductive period was) 5.9. On average, an Indian woman gave birth six times. The rate has declined steadily since 1975 to touch 2.2 live births per woman.

Crude Birth Rate

Definition: The crude birth rate is the annual number of live births per 1,000 population.

Method of measurement

  • The crude birth rate is generally computed as a ratio. The numerator is the number of live births observed in a population during a reference period and the denominator is the number of person-years lived by the population during the same period. It is expressed as births per 1,000 population.  


  • India’s birth rate has declined drastically over the last four decades from 36.9 in 1971 to 17.592 births per 1000 people in 2020, a 1.2% decline from 2019.
  • The rural-urban differential has also narrowed. However, the birth rate has continued to be higher in rural areas compared to urban areas.
  • Bihar (26.2) continues to remain at the top of the list in the birth rate while Andaman and Nicobar (11.2) are at the bottom.

Death rate:

  • The death rate of India has witnessed a significant decline over the last four decades from 14.9 in 1971 to 6.2 in 2018.
  • In the last decade, the death rate at an all-India level has declined from 7.3 to 6.2.
  • The decline has been steeper in rural areas.
  • Chhattisgarh has the highest death rate at 8 and Delhi, an almost entirely urban state has the lowest death rate of 3.3.

Infant mortality rate:

  • IMR has decreased to 32 about one-fourth as compared to 1971 (129).
  • The IMR at an all-India level has declined from 50 to 32 in the last decade.
  • Madhya Pradesh has the highest IMR of 48 and Nagaland has the lowest IMR of 4.
  • Infant mortality is the number of deaths of children under one year of age per 1000 live births.

Child mortality rate:

  • Is the mortality of children under the age of five. The child mortality rate, also 'under-five mortality rate', refers to the probability of dying between birth and exactly five years of age expressed per 1,000 live births.

Life Expectancy: The number of years which an individual at a given age can expect to live at present mortality levels.

Demographics of India

Total population Around 1.38 billion
Percentage of the world population 17.71%
Population density 464 per sq. km
Infant mortality rate 26.6 deaths per 1000 live births
Life expectancy at birth

Total: 70.42 years
Male: 69.2 years
Female: 71.8 years

Rural population Around 65%
Urban population Around 35%

Population Density: 

The population density of India in 2011 is 382 per sq km while the urban population is 31.60 % of the total population. Urban migration over the last decade has resulted in the rapid growth of urban slums.


India's Population Pyramid

Demographic Dividend: 

  • According to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), demographic dividend means, “the economic growth potential that can result from shifts in a population’s age structure, mainly when the share of the working-age population (15 to 64) is larger than the non-working-age share of the population (14 and younger, and 65 and older)”.

Demographic Dividend of India

  • Since 2018, India’s working-age population (people between 15 and 64 years of age) has grown larger than the dependant population — children aged 14 or below as well as people above 65 years of age. This bulge in the working-age population is going to last till 2055, or 37 years from its beginning.
  • Many Asian economies — Japan, China, South Korea — were able to use this ‘demographic dividend’, defined by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as the growth potential that results from shifts in a population’s age structure.
  • This transition happens largely because of a decrease in the total fertility rate (TFR, which is the number of births per woman) after the increase in life expectancy gets stabilised.

Various opportunities related to the demographic dividend in India

Labour supply: The first benefit of the young population is the increased labour supply, as more people reach working age. However, the magnitude of this benefit depends on the ability of the economy to absorb and productively employ the extra workers.

Capital formation: As the number of dependents decreases individuals save more. This increase in national savings rates increases the stock of capital in developing countries and provides an opportunity to create the country’s capital through investment.

The rise in women’s workforce that naturally accompanies a decline in fertility, and which can be a new source of growth.

Economic growth: Another opportunity is produced by increased domestic demand brought about by the increasing GDP per capita and the decreasing dependency ratio. This leads to demand-driven economic growth. Growth, education, better economic security and a desire for more durable goods are the cause and consequence of young demographics.

Increase in the savings rate, as the working-age also happens to be the prime period for saving.

Infrastructure: Increased fiscal space created by the demographic dividend enables the government to divert resources from spending on children to investing in physical and human infrastructure.

Skilled workforce: Most sectors of the Indian economy would require a more skilled workforce than the present. It would be both a challenge and an opportunity for India to provide its workforce with required skill sets and knowledge to enable them to contribute substantially to its economic growth.

Migration: It presents some opportunities that can arise from having demographic changes, particularly the demographic dividend and interstate migration to overcome labour shortage in some parts


Enhancing human capital: Poor human capital formation is reflected in low employability among India’s graduates and postgraduates. According to ASSOCHAM, only 20-30 % of engineers find a job suited to their skills. Thus, low human capital base and lack of skills is a big challenge.

The informal economy: Informal nature of the economy in India is another challenge in reaping the benefits of demographic transition in India. Nearly 216 million people are engaged in the agriculture sector, are in the informal economy where not only they earn lower wages, but with little social security and few days of employment in a year.

Jobless growth: There is a mounting concern that future growth could turn out to be jobless due to deindustrialization, de-globalization, the fourth industrial revolution and technological progress. As per the NSSO's Periodic Labour Force Survey 2017-18, India’s labour force participation rate for the age-group 15-59 years is around 53%, that is around half of the working-age population is jobless.

Asymmetric demography: The growth in the working-age ratio is likely to be concentrated in some of India’s poorest states and the demographic dividend will be fully realised only if India is able to create gainful employment opportunities for this working-age population.

Low human development: India ranks 130 out of 189 countries in UNDP’s Human Development Index, which is alarming. Life expectancy at birth in India (68 years) is much lower than in other developing countries. The mean years of schooling and expected years of schooling and need to be improved.

Way Forward

Building human capital: India has to invest more in human capital formation at all levels, from primary education to higher education, cutting-edge research and development as well as on vocational training to increase the skill sets of its growing working-age population.

Skill development: Skill development is needed to increase the employability of the young population. 

Education: Enhancing educational levels by properly investing in primary, secondary and higher education is important. 

Health: Improvement in healthcare infrastructure would ensure a higher number of productive days for the young labour force, thus increasing the productivity of the economy.

Job Creation: The nation needs to create ten million jobs per year to absorb the addition of young people into the workforce.

Good governance: Effective avenues for citizen input, well-functioning institutions, respect for the rule of law, low level of corruption, respect for property rights, the sanctity of contracts etc. are important aspects of good governance that enable the equal opportunity to all.


Other Population And Health Terms

Abortion Rate: The number of abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 or 15-49 in a given year.

Abortion Ratio: The number of abortions per 1,000 live births in a given year.

Age-Dependency Ratio: The ratio of persons in the ages defined as a dependent (under 15 years and over 64 years) to persons in the ages defined as economically productive (15-64 years) in a population.

Ageing of Population: A process in which the proportions of adults and elderly increase in a population, while the proportions of children and adolescents decrease. This process results in a rise in the median age of the population. Ageing occurs when fertility rates decline while life expectancy remains constant or improves at the older ages.

Balancing Equation: A basic demographic formula used to estimate total population change between two points in time — or to estimate any unknown component of population change, provided that the other components are known. The balancing equation includes all components of population change: births, deaths, immigration, emigration, in-migration, and out-migration.

Brain Drain: The emigration of a significant proportion of a country’s highly-skilled, highly educated professional population, usually to other countries offering better economic and social opportunity (for example, physicians leaving a developing country to practice medicine in a developed country).

Carrying Capacity: The maximum sustainable size of a resident population in a given ecosystem.

Case Fatality Rate: The proportion of persons contracting a disease who die from it during a specified time period.

Census: A canvass of a given area, resulting in an enumeration of the entire population and often the compilation of other demographic, social, and economic information pertaining to that population at a specific time. See also survey.

Childbearing Years: The reproductive age span of women, assumed for statistical purposes to be 15-44 or 15-49 years of age.

Child-Woman Ratio: The number of children under age 5 per 1,000 women ages 15-44 or 15-49 in a population in a given year. This crude fertility measure, based on basic census data, is sometimes used when more specific fertility information is not available

Closed Population: A population with no migratory flow either in or out, so that changes in population size occur only through births and deaths.

Cohort Measure: A statistic that measures event occurring to a group of people sharing a common demographic experience, who are observed through time.  (birth, marriage, class, and so on).

Crude Death Rate: the number of deaths per 1000 of the population in a given year.

Demographic Transition: The historical shift of birth and death rates from high to low levels in a population. The mortality decline usually precedes the fertility decline, resulting in rapid population growth during the transition period.

Demography: The scientific study of human populations, including their sizes, compositions, distributions, densities, growth, and other characteristics, as well as the causes and consequences of changes in these factors.

Double Dependency: Moderate child dependency and relatively high old-age dependency reflect above or near replacement fertility and declining mortality.

Emigration: The process of leaving one country to take up permanent or semipermanent residence in another.

Fecundity: The physiological capacity of a woman to produce a child.

General Fertility Rate: The number of live births per 1,000 women ages 15-44 or 15-49 years in a given year.

Immigration: The process of entering one country from another to take up permanent or semipermanent residence.

Incidence Rate: the number of persons contracting a disease during a given time period per 1000 of the population at risk.

Life Expectancy: the average number of additional years a person could expect to live if current mortality trends were to continue for the rest of the person’s life.  (Most common is life expectancy at birth.)

Life Table: A tabular display of life expectancy and the probability of dying for each age (or age group) of a population, according to the age-specific death rates at that time.

Maternal Mortality Ratio: the number of women who die as a result of complications of pregnancy or childbearing in a given year, per 100,000 live births in that year.

Mean Age: The mathematical average age of all the members of a population.

Median Age: The age that divides a population into two numerically equal groups; that is, half the people are younger than this age and half are older.

Morbidity: the frequency of disease, illness, injuries, or disabilities in a population.

Natality: Births as a component of population change.

Neonatal Mortality Rate: The number of deaths to infants under 28 days of age in a given year per 1,000 live births in that year.

Nuptiality: The frequency, characteristics, and dissolution of marriages in a population.

Parity:  number of children previously born to a woman.  

Perinatal Mortality Rate: The number of fetal deaths after 28 weeks of pregnancy (late fetal deaths) plus the number of deaths to infants under 7 days of age per 1,000 live births.

Population Density: Population per unit of land area; for example, people per square mile or people per square kilometre of arable land.

Population Growth Rate:  the rate at which a population is increasing (or decreasing) in a given year due to natural increase and net migration, expressed as a percentage of the base population.

Population Pyramid: A bar chart, arranged vertically, that shows the distribution of a population by age and sex. By convention, the younger ages are at the bottom, with males on the left and females on the right.

Post-Neonatal Mortality Rate: The annual number of deaths of infants ages 28 days to 1 year per 1,000 live births in a given year.

Prevalence Rate: The number of people having a particular disease at a given point in time per 1,000 population at risk.

“Push-Pull” Hypothesis: A migration theory that suggests that circumstances at the place of origin (such as poverty and unemployment) repel or push people out of that place to other places that exert a positive attraction or pull (such as a high standard of living or job opportunities).

Rate of Natural Increase: the rate at which a population is increasing or decreasing in a given year, given a surplus or deficit of births over deaths, expressed as a percentage of the base population.

Replacement–Level Fertility: The level of fertility at which a couple has only enough children to replace themselves or about two children per couple.

Zero Population Growth: A population in equilibrium, with a growth rate of zero, achieved when births plus immigration equal deaths plus emigration.

Please Share with maximum friends to support the Initiative.

Enquire now

Give us a call or fill in the form below and we will contact you. We endeavor to answer all inquiries within 24 hours on business days.