Essay: Effects of Overpopulation in India


According to the CIA World Factbook, India’s population is the second most populated country in the world, with more than 1.15 billion people as of July 2009. The Indian people have nearly 3,287,263 square kilometers of land to use, approximately 170 million hectares of which is available for farming.

These 170 million hectares has the potential to yield enough crops for India to place India at the top of the crop yields for the entire world. In fact, in 1999, India had the second highest crop yields in the world for both rice and wheat. India’s economy does not rely heavily on export and these crops primarily stayed in the country, helping to feed some of the 1.15 billion people. Unfortunately, it is not clear if this quantity of food could meet the needs of India’s population if it had been distributed in a more equitable manner. However, it is fundamentally clear that millions of Indians are not having their biological needs met. If the population continues to rise at current rates, 1.4% a year as of 2009, India will not be able to produce sufficient food to meet the growing demands. It is simple math. If India is going to increase their population size, they also need to find ways to both increase their food production and the efficient of their distribution system.

Consider the following facts regarding India’s growing population. Forty-two percent of India’s population falls below the World Banks $1.25/day per person line for determining poverty. Fifty-three percent of India’s five and under population is malnourished. Thirty-seven percent has little to no access to water safe for drinking and cooking. Bombay has nearly fifteen million people sleeping on sidewalks and living in the streets. These are the effects of overpopulation on India. There simply are not enough goods to go around. Additionally, there is insufficient infrastructure to deliver the available goods to the people that need them the most.

Another argument about the effects of overpopulation in India centers on the increasing size of the population. As of 2009, the birth rate of 21.72 births for every 1,000 people far exceeded the death rate of 7.6 deaths per 1,000 people. The birth rate is nearly three times as high as the death rate. This is astonishing. A 1.4% population increase may not sound that high, until one considers that 1.4% of 1.15 billion people is still approximately 16 million people a year. That is a lot of extra mouths to feed, nourish, and otherwise care for. Many countries would be hard pressed to care for an extra 16 million people each year without growing their economy.

This population increase of nearly 16 million people per year is the heart of India’s overpopulation problem. Until India can create and implement an infrastructure that can address these population needs, overpopulation will continue to have a massive impact on India’s population.