India's changing population structure

In 2016, India held one sixth of the world's population. It had an annual population growth rate of 1.2%, and had one of the youngest populations in the world. 65% of the population was below the age of 35, and it is expected that by 2022 the average age in India will be just 29 - compared to 35 in China and 48 in Japan.

This expanding youthful workforce could be a trump card in India's future economic development, while the dwindling workforce of European and other developed countries adds further to India's advantages.

However, some think that India's rapid population growth is leading it to over-population - where it is unable to provide the necessary resources needed to support its people. India's population growth is now slowing due to birth controls, and this is particularly the case in the southern state of Kerala, where a number of significant changes are taking place:

  • Women's health in Kerala is the best in all of India. Mothers can gain easy access to health centres to help them care for their children.
  • Women are being educated. In Kerala, 85 per cent of females are literate as opposed to 48 per cent for all of India's women. Better educated mothers keep their children healthier, causing infant mortality (child deaths) rates to reduce. This leads to lower birth rates, as more babies survive.
  • As educated young females begin to follow career paths, they marry later, and have children later in life.
  • Contraception is more widely available in Kerala, and couples can plan when they have children.