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Population Planning with a Special Reference to India

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

by Rijul Alwan Das



Globally, there is a rising concern that human population is increasing at an alarming rate. This is often complemented by visions of the future where, if the problem is not addressed timely, dire consequences await society. These range from socio-economic challenges such as poverty and food insecurity to environmental concerns like climate change and rapid deforestation. Hence, such a concern deserves serious attention.

In order to mitigate any possible future threat arising due to an increasing population, various stakeholders in the society offer different measures on how to regulate the increase. In modern-day societies, this is achieved through the population policies of the government. This article discusses a general overview on how population planning is tackled by governments across the world. Governments can either follow a “Control” policy or a “Rights-Based/Voluntary” approach for the same. Both are multifaceted in nature and are routinely used by various nations to address the question of population growth. While a “Control” policy does stymie growth to some extent, it has various unintended and undesirable consequences. A Rights-based approach is more amenable. However, this approach would require the cooperation of large numbers of people which can be cumbersome in modern-day democracies.

Given its position in population charts vis-a-vis China, grave concerns of “overpopulation” are a matter of serious public debate in India. Hence, a focus has been kept on India so as to understand the past, present and future of its demographic trends. We learn that, in India, it is beneficial to follow a liberal, Rights-Based approach in order to tackle the challenge of an increasing population. This would not only regulate population growth, but also enhance individual autonomy and personal freedom.

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One of the most contested issues in our contemporary society is that of population. Every stakeholder has a different perspective when it comes to population. However, most people agree that a high population can be detrimental for society. The reason behind this argument is that an increase in population puts pressure on scarce resources which could lead to massive economic challenges such as hunger, poverty and unemployment. It would also result in environmental degradation and climate change. This idea is not newfound. Thomas Robert Malthus, in his seminal text An Essay on the Principle of Population published in 1798, highlighted the effects of a high population on the society. He postulated that population growth would eventually overtake the growth rate of resources like food if the former is left unchecked. The argument was based on the premise that population grows at an exponential pace while resources like food grow at a linear rate. Consequently, problems like famines and wars would prevail. Such problems would bring the population to an optimal level. To prevent overpopulation, he pointed out two “checks” - preventive and positive[1].

The population of the modern world has grown significantly. In 1900, there were fewer than 2 billion people (Bobstock 2019). The world’s population figure stands at 7.7 billion as of 2019. It is set to increase up to 8.5 billion in the year 2030. As per UN estimates, by the end of the 21st Century, global population will reach nearly 10.9 billion. A large part of this increase will be concentrated in sub-Saharan African and Central and Southern Asia (World Population Prospects, 2019). According to projections, the former region could see its population rise by nearly 1.05 billion people till 2050. Nearly 25% of global population growth till 2050 would be fuelled by the regions of Southern and Central Asia, which would account for an increase of population figures by nearly 505 million people.

Although human population has grown exponentially since Malthus’ time, the probability of a possible overtake as mentioned earlier seems highly unlikely. There are various reasons for the same. Firstly, the Green Revolution resulted in a drastic increase in food supply. Agricultural technology gave us innovations like High Yield Variety (HYV) seeds due to which productivity rose high enough to feed nearly 10 billion people according to current capacities (FAO 2017)(Holt-Giménez et al. 2012). However, there exist two counterarguments against this notion which need to be addressed. The first lies in the idea of hunger and malnutrition prevalent in the contemporary world despite high productivity. Another argument is based on the threats posed by climate change on agriculture and its sustainability. While it is true that more than 800 million people globally experience hunger and that nearly 20% of the world's undernourished are in Africa (State of Food Security 2019), it would be fallacious to link this phenomenon entirely with an increasing population. In the modern world, hunger and malnutrition occur due to lack of people’s access to food. They are, in turn, caused due to faulty institutional mechanisms. This calls for State support and government intervention to mitigate hunger and malnutrition (Sen and Dreze 1989). Hence, population as a major reason for persistent hunger seems misleading (Hasell 2018). As for the argument of climate change, a substantial body of scientific work does point to a negative long-run impact on agriculture and thereby, on food systems. Nevertheless, with technological advancements, newer methods of farming are being adopted by people that are ecologically sustainable (Jakhar et al. 2018). With rising consumer consciousness, people are becoming more aware of their consumption habits and its impact on the environment in the long run. Hence, this awareness could result in a change in dietary preferences to organic crops.

Other scientific developments like birth control techniques and contraceptives have seriously impacted population trends since they allow people to decide when they would like to have children. Furthermore, globally, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR)[2] is on the decline. Currently, it stands at 2.4 births per woman according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). There are various reasons behind this low TFR such as improvements in socio-economic indicators like incomes, educational levels of women. Moreover, due to modern economic growth, urbanisation is underway at an unprecedented rate. These and many allied factors have enhanced the standard of living for a large number of peoples. These factors are known to have a negative correlation with fertility (Vandenbroucke 2016) (Pradhan 2015). As society and time progress, people have less children as compared to the previous generation.

Despite these facts, some people see the issue in absolute terms (in this case, the total population figure). In order to prevent any future calamity, they call for intensive population planning. In modern democracies, that role is entrusted with the government. They are heavily influenced by stakeholders in the society with diverse views. However, governments can be quite parochial in their outlook regarding population planning. Policymakers, and people in general, might neither be statistically informed nor economically aware. Moreover, they are politically motivated (Pandey 2020). A country-specific example could be taken of India where some far-right-wing leaders have made claims regarding the “fall of Hindu fertility rate” and the subsequent increase in “Muslim Population growth” (Purohit 2019) (Hindustan Times 2020). These claims, in addition to being factually incorrect, often stoke communal tensions. Similar examples can be seen globally where socially diverse groups exist. Therefore, any population policy needs to take into consideration the heterogeneity of the society along with factual realities of the issue.

In this piece, I attempt to explore the issue of population planning from a nuanced perspective with an objective to comprehend the motivations, intricacies and methods pertaining to it. A focus has been kept on India since it is set to overtake China as the world’s most populous nation. Several proposals have been introduced to stabilise our population growth. It might seem like a ripe condition to formulate laws that arrest population growth. However, is it necessary? As we will see, prioritising human rights over population targets might be a better way of addressing the problem.


Countries differ in their individual positions when it comes to fertility rates and population. On one hand, there are some Sub-Saharan African nations which will experience population growth; they will have a “baby boom”. Diametrically, nations like Japan, the US etc. are currently facing a “baby bust”; their TFR is significantly lower than that of the rest of the world. This observation corroborates the idea that developed countries have a lower TFR as compared to developing nations due to reasons mentioned earlier.

Table 1: Total Fertility Rates (World Bank 2018)- Developing and Developed Countries [3]

Because of these variations, countries follow different approaches while dealing with population. However, they can broadly be categorised into two types-

  1. Control Legislation

  2. Rights based/Voluntary Approach

Under a Control Legislation, governments seek to control the number of children that can be born to a woman. If the fertility and population figures are low, the government could enact laws which would lead to population growth. The infamous bans on abortion in Romania under Nicolae Ceasusecu (Levitt & Dubner 2005, 115-117) (Upton 2019) to boost population is a notable example. However, if the government feels that the country is experiencing a population explosion, it would act on a legislation that would set an upper limit on the number of children that a couple can bear. An example for this sort is the One-Child Policy(OCP) in China where parents were allowed to have just a single child.

In order to ensure compliance with these laws, economic incentives are offered such as preferential treatment in state services like employment guarantees, social security, tax benefits, paid maternity leaves etc. along with public recognition for complying with the legislation[5]. However, contravening the laws result in severe punishments like hefty fines, higher tax rates, lesser public entitlements. In some cases, even coercive measures such as forced sterilisation are undertaken. The incentives-punishments overlap across borders even though the national priorities may differ. Both China and Romania offered most of the incentives and punishments highlighted above even though the former tried to limit births while the latter tried to increase its population.

These Control Legislations have a significant impact on demographic trends. For instance, Romanian population doubled following its abortion ban (Levitt 2005). China claims that it has prevented 400 million births since the time OCP was first enacted, despite controversies arising regarding its efficacy (Whyte et al. 2015). However, they also have many unintended consequences which radically shift the social structures of the country. Due to society’s preference for sons, the OCP further “incentivised” parents to ensure that their only child is male, thereby neglecting girls. As a result, along with sex-selective abortions, there has been a skewed sex-ratio at birth (SRB) in China (Junsen et al 2011) (Zeng et al 2016). The natural SRB, as per WHO, is estimated to be 105 males per 100 females. However, due to OCP, the SRB is as high as 121 males per 100 females in parts of China, particularly those in rural areas.

Table 2: Sex-Ratio at Birth in China

Source: Hesketh (2011) and Jiang (2019)

A striking manifestation of this disparity has been in the marriage system. Nearly 30 million Chinese men are unmarried. This has negative consequences for social stability since this surplus of men has been positively correlated with financial crimes, kidnapping, trafficking (Cameron et al. 2018) (Kenneth 2019). Furthermore, China is home to the largest number of elderly people in the world (Johnston 2019). The 4-2-1 system, where a young individual, generally a boy, takes care of 2 parents and 4 grandparents, has already started to create pressures for social security systems, consumption and saving habits of the economy.

In Romania, Nicolae’s policies resulted in a rising number of children being admitted in state run orphanages because people could not undergo abortions and now were left with unwanted children. These children grew up in institutionalised neglect manifested in poor health, malnutrition etc. along with sexual abuse in these orphanages. Moreover, these children went on to perform unsatisfactorily on various socio-economic metrics such as education, job-market performances (Levitt 2005).

Another method by which countries address the population concerns of the society is via a Rights Based or Voluntary Approach. In this case, the government gives the liberty of population planning to the people. This approach is more democratic and inclusive since it realises that people make fertility decisions after analysing the costs of having a child; thereby respecting individual choices pertaining to fertility matters. In 1994, a group of countries came forward in the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo where they signed the “Programme of Action” which placed human rights over population targets.

This method incentivizes and offers support to people so that they would comply but it is not coercive. If individuals fall in line with the policy, they gain a lot. Should they contravene, no punishments are exacted on them. Japan is an interesting example to highlight this approach. It is counted amongst the developed nations of the world. However, it has an ageing problem and a low TFR which manifests in a declining population for Japan. Like China, it would also be facing major pressures on its economy and social security programs. To prevent this, it is necessary to spur population growth. Hence, the government offers monetary rewards or “Child Allowances” to help couples who bear multiple children. It also offers 12 months of parental leave to those who met minimum work requirements (Govt. Response, Policy Brief No. 11). Initiatives like Plus One Plan policy aim to increase the fathers’ role (Ma, 2010) in family planning while Angel Plans assists couples in raising children. Other schemes include making day-care facilities more inclusive and accessible and of high quality which would improve childcare services, housing and public facilities for families with children (Irigoyen 2017).

However, there are challenges that Japan faces while implementing these policies. A major concern is the shortage of supply of childcare services in relation to demand (Policy Brief No. 11). This highlights insufficient government funding. The problem is augmented due to the patrilineal form of society where women are expected to raise children which strains the balance between their work and their household duties. Due to this, young women tend to favour work over family. Hence, other interventions are necessary to make the approach fully effective (The Economist).

There is the possibility where a Voluntary Based Approach is adopted to slow down growth. India is a prominent example that is discussed soon. However, it is necessary to note that the manifestation of this approach is similar everywhere. It means that, unlike a Control Legislation where countries either controlled the upper limit (like 1-child in China) or lower limit (outlawing abortion in Romania meant women had to deliver the baby), there is no such difference under Voluntary Approach.This is primarily due to the fact that it prioritises human rights, which are universal in nature.

Countries that follow Voluntary Approach tend to focus on human development metrics like education, healthcare. In Japan’s case, the authorities are striving to ensure more people, particularly women, get into jobs, educational institutions. It is essential to note that, under a Control Legislation, the aim and result of the policy largely align with one another because of the associated penalties. However, under Voluntary Approach, there is a possibility that individual choices could go against governmental objectives because of the absence of punishments.


India, with a population of 1.3 billion people, will soon replace China as the most populous nation in the world. It will add nearly 273 million people till 2050, making it one of the drivers of global population growth (World Population Prospects 2019).

Figure 1: India and China (1990-2018)

Source: World Bank Data (2018)

On comparing the average age levels in the world, one sees that the world is growing older. In 2018, the number of people over 65 years of age was greater than those below the age of 5 (World Population Prospects, 2019). However, India is an exception to this trend. More than half of our population is below 25 years of age (Kedia et al. 2018) (SRS 2018) and 65% of the population is below the age of 35; thereby suggesting that we have a relatively young population. In addition to these age structures, gender composition is a demographically essential component. The sex-ratio is 943 females per 1000 males as per Census 2011, thereby indicating skewness. In order to understand our current demographic trends, it is essential to trace the history of population planning in India since Independence.

In 1947, India was amongst the most populous nations of the world. Realising that a high population would be detrimental to the country’s economic development, India launched a national Family Planning programme in 1952; thereby becoming the first country ever to have such a state sponsored program. The aim was to “stabilise the population at a level consistent with the requirement of the national economy” (Vision FP 2020). Therefore, various steps were taken so that people could make judicious decisions regarding family planning. The focus was on stymieing population explosion by providing knowledge and ensuring access to various options for contraceptives and other sexual and reproductive healthcare services.

However, the 1971 Census proved to be a turning point since it informed policymakers about the alarming population growth in the country (Chaurasia & Singh, n.d.). To curb it, during the years of The Emergency (1975-77), the then government undertook a forced sterilisation program. Initially, it incentivised men to undergo vasectomies by offering radios, television sets etc. However, the government later followed a “target based policy”. State Governments were given quotas to fulfil (Gupte 2017). The majority of the sterilisations were done under coercion (Masoodi 2015) (Bose, 1978) which was either in the forms of physical force (lathicharge) or by ways such as overlooking people for promotions and recognition in government jobs (Gupte 2017). As per one estimate, in 1976 alone, more than 6.2 million men were sterilised. Additionally, the entire program resulted in the deaths of two thousand men (Biswas 2014). Since quotas had to be fulfilled, operations were done in a hurried pace which exposed people to various health hazards. These were among some of the disturbing human rights violations under the program (Matthews et al. 2019) (Gupte 2017). Consequently, Indians grew apprehensive of such unethical, coercive efforts to stabilise the population.

As time progressed, various initiatives have been taken keeping in mind issues like reproductive and sexual health and rights, child nutrition, contraceptive usage which focused on raising awareness and increasing engagement. The ultimate aim was to nudge people so that they themselves could responsibly plan their families which would allow them to lead comfortable lives, characterised by higher standard of living and welfare. These initiatives have clear, thought out plans and courses of action. Some examples include National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Mission Parivar Vikas. These programs seek to complement the vision laid down in policy documents such as National Population Policy 2000, National Health Mission 2002, Millenium Development Goals. This shows India has largely followed a Voluntary Approach towards population stabilisation throughout its existence.

However, all of that might be under challenge. Lately, frequent calls for regulating (“controlling”) the population have come from all corners of the country. For this, support rallies around a Population Control Law/Legislation that would limit the number of the children born to a woman/family. It resembles the notion of small family size as was popularised by slogans like “Hum do Humare do” (two parents, two children). In India, there have been around 35 such control bills that have been introduced in the parliament but have never reached the voting stage (Pandey 2020). In recent years, two bills[6] have made prominent headlines that need deliberation.

The first one is the Population Regulation Bill, 2019. This bill, like any other control legislation, limits the number of children that can be born to a family. In this case, the limit is set to 2. All Government employees would have to give an undertaking that they would not be procreating more than 2 children. It would later be applied to the entire population of the land. It includes sterilization and other forms of birth control methods to limit the number of children born to a couple. The Bill seeks to motivate this behavior by providing incentives for the same which include tax concessions, giving preferences to single children in admission to institutions, lower interest rates etc. For those who contravene the rules, hefty punishments in the form of high interest rates, debarment from contesting elections, withdrawal of benefits from the Public Distribution System (PDS) lay in store.

The other legislation is the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020 which seeks to amend Section 47 of the Indian Constitution by inserting Article 47A. Similar to the Population Regulation Bill, it seeks to promote small family norms in the country by offering necessary incentives to followers and punishments to those who do not comply. While both legislations seek to arrest population growth by calling for a 2-child norm, the former directly deals with the issue of high population and its consequences whereas the Amendment Bill is implicit in its functioning. This is because the Amendment Bill seeks to ‘nudge’ the State to promote small family norms. Furthermore, it is less detailed and substantive in its content and ways as compared to the Regulation Bill. Nevertheless, these proposed policy stances mark a dedicated shift in what the State currently sees as a viable method of population planning.


A good place to begin analysing the necessity of the bills is to understand whether past population policies and programs have been successful in India. While it is true that we have a population of 1.39 billion people, we do need to consider the fluctuations in demographic trends since independence. A prime reason for such a high population figure is that we already had a very high population base to begin with. It means that, regardless of the growth rate, the absolute population figures would remain high. When it comes to fluctuations in trends, the data reveals a declining trend in decadal population growth rate. This means that fewer people are being added to our population over time.

Figure 2: Decadal Growth Rate

Source: Primary Census Abstracts (1951-2011)

The above graph shows us that even though decadal growth rates are high, they show a declining trend. Initially, when family planning had a rights based overtone to it, the decadal population growth rate increased to 24.8 % in 1961-71 from 21.64% in 1951-61. Within the next decade, there does not seem to be much change in the trend. This was also the time when a forced sterilisation campaign (control approach) took over the Voluntary Approach stance. Since then, there has been a downward trend in growth rates. Another manifestation of this could be seen in the annual population growth rate measured over the same period of time.

Figure 3: Annual Population Growth Rate (in %)

Source: World Bank

In 2018, the annual population growth rate in India was 1.037% (World Bank 2018). This trend can partly be attributed to the efforts made under various policies and schemes that targeted family planning (Kaul 2020). Due to programs that targeted issues like raising awareness, distributing contraceptives, enhancing access to services etc., people have been involved in making conscientious family related decisions (NFHS-4).

Moreover, as a result of these programs and initiatives, the TFR is also going down. This highlights the fact that less and less children are being born per woman. The latest data is for the year 2018 where the national TFR was around 2.2 births per woman (NFHS-4). It is very near to the Replacement Fertility Rate of 2.1 births per woman.

Figure 4: Total Fertility Rate in India (from 2001-2017)

Source: Sample Registration Survey (2018), NITI Ayog

These demographic policies and programs have been complemented with other socio-economic policies that influence TFR. Measures, particularly those focussing on education and healthcare, have been implemented with various objectives keeping in mind the needs and requirements of the target community. Since women have been historically denied educational rights, current programs have a profound impact in the lives of women. Female literacy levels have risen quite considerably in the past few years as per Census 2011 data (See table 3). The improvement in literacy leads to better information about reproductive planning and consequently, has an inverse relationship with women’s fertility rates since it allows them to have a greater say in family planning. An example of the same is the Wanted Fertility Rate[7] (WFR). As per NFHS-4, the WFR is 1.8 births per woman, which is below the replacement levels. This highlights the difference between wanted births and actual births (1.8 vs 2.2 children per woman). Factors like household wealth, availability of contraceptive, access to healthcare support, literacy etc. play a significant role in influencing this.

Table 3: Literacy Rates between Indian Males and Females (in %)

Source: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation- Literacy and Education

Moreover, with technological improvements and political representation, women have been voicing their opinions, demands and ideas on matters that affect them. These and many allied features in demographic and socio-economic policies have helped in stabilising the population of the country. Had these measures not been in place, we would have experienced a baby boom for a sustained period of time. Hence, keeping in view all the factors mentioned above, there is no need for a population control legislation in the country. However, we do need a stronger implementation of existing schemes so that it reaches every part of the country.


A lot of literature is available on the consequences of a population control law in India. Credible figures say that such methods of stabilizing the population are futile. (Gupta, 2019). However, there are two major implications of a control legislation in India that need to be highlighted.

  1. Rural-Urban Divide: There exists a rural-urban difference in TFRs as per NFHS-4 (2.4 vs 1.8 respectively). This has to be coupled with the fact that more than 65% of India’s population resides in rural areas (World Bank, 2018). The impact of a control law on rural India, however, has not been highlighted in literature. A key reason for why the rural population is high is due to the labour intensive nature of the economy which is based on activities like farming and agriculture. It requires large quantities of manual input. Hence, a control bill would severely impact the rural economy by placing more burden on existing members since adequate quantities of labour will not be available in the future to carry out economic activity. Coupled with the internal migration of people from rural to urban areas for various purposes, it would result in shrinking of the rural workforce. Additionally, urbanisation leads to the development of slums in cities, which come with their own set of issues. More research on this aspect would be useful.

  2. Gendered Impact: The major onus of family planning in India lies on the womenfolk. More than 93% of all sterilisations are performed on women (National Health Mission, 2017) since patriarchal structures let men believe that their virility would be impacted due to sterilisation. They also refuse to use other contraceptives due to other social stigmas (Ghosh, 2018). Any control legislation in India would have multiple gendered impacts. Firstly, it would rob women of their existing limited rights as the burden of family planning would be increased significantly for them. Secondly, since there exists a boy-child preference in India (Economic Survey, 2017), a control legislation could aggravate the already skewed sex ratio. Since parents would most likely prefer to have boys, it could lead to illegal, sex-selective abortions. Moreover, the debarment from holding political office as a consequence of contravening would lead to a reduction in female participation in politics.

Along with women, its impact will be felt by disadvantaged groups such as poor people and cultural-religious minorities. The Chinese experiment in population control shows us that exorbitant fines are imposed on people which was often as high as eight times the annual income of a family in rural areas (S.G., 2015); thereby resulting in poor peoples’ inability to pay it. Minorities might feel threatened if provocative proclamations are made about the rising population and the need to control it. Moreover, a legislation of this sort may further divisions among social groups. It could further segregate social groups into ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ which could have disastrous implications. Lastly, it would go against the principle of individual liberty and freedom with which India signed the ICPD 1994 declaration.


India has 17% of the world’s population with around 2% of global land and 4% of world’s water resources. Scarcity of resources has made it imperative that our population policies should incorporate sustainable development while upholding human rights.

An effective way to address the issue would be via marriages. Almost 27% of girls get married before 18 years of age (End Child Marriage, n.d.). Early marriage leads to early family planning. Hence, it would be beneficial to promote the norm of delayed marriages by offering suitable incentives. Late marriages have the potential to stymie population growth (Mishra 2015) since it empowers women to take decisions related to their bodies and family sizes. This has to work in tandem with policies that seek to eliminate child marriage (The Wire, 2020) as it would let women have a say in family planning decisions.

Public investments in socio-economic policies should be prioritised. Enhancements in educational setups along with the development of state-of-the-art medical support and healthcare infrastructure should be major policy objectives. Focus should be on quality and quantity so that these services can effectively reach all parts of the country while being accessible, affordable and available for people. Quality education would help people in being sensitised about proper family planning methods so that they can decide a suitable path for themselves. It would also bring in better employment opportunities which would result in higher living standards. Access to proper healthcare services would also ensure that safe practices and informed decisions are undertaken. Effectiveness in delivery and stakeholder engagement is a must in this regard, particularly in rural areas. In addition to this, generating employment opportunities for people, particularly women, would lead to their empowerment and autonomy in decision-making.

Stakeholder engagement is crucial so that effective solutions could be drawn out. Since young people make up for a high proportion of India’s population, it is necessary that they are involved in the process so that decisions are taken after considering their views. Also, men have to be encouraged to take up their share of responsibility in family planning. For this, local communities need to be educated and sensitised. Grassroots level engagement with people is required so that they take rational decisions regarding the number of children they would like to have.


In this article, we have comprehended how population planning takes place. From China and Romania, we realised that a control legislation would have unintended consequences. We have also studied India’s experiences to see if it requires a population control law. Analysing the case for India, we see a declining trend in population growth and fertility rates. Hence, we conclude that we do not require a control law in India. Government focus should be on investments in socio-economic initiatives that aim to influence the factors affecting fertility decisions as mentioned in the essay, notably education, healthcare and employment generation.

Some solutions highlighted above are feasible enough to be implemented across the land. With right political will and citizenship engagement, the population can be stabilised without hampering individual rights and personal autonomy. It is absolutely imperative that the issue of population planning is undertaken with utmost care and diligence.


The author is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Economics at Ramjas College, University of Delhi. His research interests lie in poverty, gender and hunger and he wishes to impact the current scenario of Poverty and Hunger by means of his comprehensive research. He can be reached at


[1] Preventive checks refer to those methods by which the population is stabilised using self-chosen means such as abstinence, delayed marriages etc. while positive checks refer to those ways by which could abruptly result in a shortened life span. Examples include war, famine etc. [2] TFR refers to the average number of children that are born to a woman in her lifetime. A TFR of 2.1 is considered to be optimal and is called Replacement Level Fertility where each generation reproduces enough to exactly replace itself. [3] G-7 nations have been taken as they comprise of the world’s 7 major developed economies. For developing nations, various examples from Southern and Central Asia along with Sub-Saharan Africa have been taken since population growth in the future will be concentrated there. Apart from those mentioned in the essay (Japan, US and India), other nations have been taken to illustrate the difference in TFRs of developed and developing nations. [4] Developing Nations have been taken from the UNDP database(2019). [5] In Romania, women who gave birth to 10 children were called “Heroine Mothers”. (Atlantic Magazine) ( [6] Bills can be accessed at : [7] As per NFHS-IV, WFR is the average number of children a woman would have by the end of her child-bearing years if she bore children at the current age-specific fertility rates, excluding unwanted children. In other words, the average number of children a woman would like to give birth to. WFR is reported by the woman herself.


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