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India is making progress towards economic development, but its population growth has been slowing down. According to India’s Census figures, the annual population growth rate was 1.3% in 1951, increased to 2% in 1961, remained steady at 2.2% from 1971-91, and started to decline in the 1990s, reaching 1.6% in 2011.

The UNFPA reported that India’s population in 2021 was 1,393.4 million with an average annual rate of population change of 1%. In 2011, the median age in India was 24.9, and by 2022, it had increased to 28.7, making India a young country.

India’s absolute population numbers remain high due to “population momentum,” which occurs when there is a large young population in a country. This momentum is projected to continue for the next three decades. Some projections suggest that India’s population will peak in 2048 and start declining thereafter, with estimates of 1.1 billion in 2100. The UN predicts that India’s population will peak in 2053.

To address the population momentum, the Population Foundation of India recommends delaying marriage, first pregnancy, and ensuring birth spacing. Additionally, there is a need to address higher fertility due to the unmet need for contraception among women, which currently stands at 9.4% in India, approximately 22 million women.

Efforts to expand the basket of contraception methods and increase access to temporary contraception methods are crucial. While government initiatives like Mission Parivar Vikas have been successful in high-fertility districts, more investment is needed to improve contraceptive penetration.

Decadal growth rates have been declining across religious communities in India, with sharper declines among Muslims compared to Hindus. Different regions have varying growth rates, with states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu achieving replacement level Total Fertility Rates due to investments in girls’ education and empowerment.

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India’s population growth rate on a steady decline since 1990s

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