The rapid and excessive increase in population is called Population Explosion. In India, population has increased tremendously in post-independence period.

It increased more than 7.80 crore between 1951-61. Population has been increasing constantly since 1951.

In year 1991, it was estimated 84.63 crore and in 2001, it increased to 102.87 crore. In 2005 figure stood at 109.10 crore. The rapid rate of increase in population is the main problem of the country.

Size and Growth of India’s Population:


India comes second to China as regards the size of its population. It occupies 2.4% of world’s area and with 1.5% of world’s income; India is maintaining 16% of world’s population. It shows that there is excessive burden of population in India. 1.60 crore persons are added annually in country’s population. First census took place in 1891 in India. Size and Growth of India’s population are shown in Table.

Growth of Indias Population

The Growth of India’s population can be studied in four periods of time:

1. Stagnant Population Period (1891-1921):


The rate of growth of population in India was slow between 1891-1921:

(а) 1891-1901:

Population decreased by 4 lakh in this decade. Natural calamities like famines, plague, malaria etc. played havoc with the lives of people.

(b) 1901-1911:


Population rose by 137 lakhs in these 10 years. Death rate was low as this period remained free from natural calamities.

(c) 1911-1921:

Population decreased by 7 lakhs during this decade. Famine, Plague, Cholera and Malaria etc. were the cause for this decrease.

2. Steady Growth of Population Period (1921-1951):

In this decade, the population increased at a constant rate. That is why; the year 1921 has referred as ‘Year of Great Divide’ in population history.

(а) 1921-1931:

Population increased by 276 lakhs.

(b) 1931-1941:

Population increased by 3.96 crore during this period and rate of growth become 14%.


(c) 1941-1951:

Population increased by 4.24 crore. Due to partition of the country, the growth rate decreased a little.

3. Period of Population Explosion (1951-1981):

(а) 1951-1961:


In this decade, population increased rapidly. It is called ‘period of population explosion’. Population increased by 7.82 crore.

(b) 1961-1971:

In this period population recorded increase of 10.82 crore.

(c) 1971-1981:


During this period, population increased by 13.50 crore.

4. Period of High Growth 1981 onwards:

(а) 1981-1991:

In this decade, the population was 84.63 crore.

(b) 1991-2001:

In 2001, the population went up to 402.87 crore.


The population of India increased by 18.24 crore.

The growth rate of Indian population is more than China and Sri Lanka whose population grows at a rate of 1% per year.