NEW DELHI : India’s population grew at an average of 1.2 per cent annually between 2010 and 2019, more than double the annual growth rate of China, a report by the United Nations Population Fund revealed.
In the State of World Population 2019 report, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency said India’s population in 2019, stood at 1.36 billion, growing from 942.2 million in 1994 and 541.5 million in 1969.
China’s population, on the other hand, stood at 1.42 billion in 2019, growing from 1.23 billion in 1994 and 803.6 million in 1969. According to the UN report, the country’s population grew at an average of 0.5 per cent annually between 2010 and 2019.
Twenty-seven per cent of India’s population was in the age bracket of 0-14 years and 10-24 years, while 67 per cent of the country’s population was in the 15-64 age bracket. Six per cent of the country’s population was of the age 65 and above.
In India, the report said, the total fertility rate per woman declined from 5.6 in 1969 to 3.7 in 1994 and 2.3 in 2019. The country registered an improvement in life expectancy at birth. The life expectancy at birth in 1969 was 47 years, growing to 60 years in 1994 and 69 years in 2019.
The report also noted there was a drop in the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) – 488 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1994 to 174 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015.
Terming the figures as “worrisome”, Director of UNFPA Geneva Monica Ferro said it is important to raise the level of consent and access to vital health services for millions of women around the world. “Don’t forget: each one of these numbers is a person,” she said.
The findings on women aged between 15-49 years were published for the first time as part of United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFP) State of World Population 2019 report. The report includes, for the first time, data on women’s ability to make decisions over three key areas: sexual intercourse with their partner, contraception use and health care.
According to the analysis, the absence of reproductive and sexual rights has major and negative repercussions on women’s education, income and safety, leaving them “unable to shape their own futures”.
Early marriage continues to remain an obstacle to female empowerment and better reproductive rights, the UNFPA report observed,
“A girl who marries when she is 10 will probably leave school. And because she leaves school, she won’t get the negotiating skills, and she won’t get the specific skills which will allow her to then get a better-paid job,” Ferro said.
Those women and girls left behind “are typically poor, rural and less educated,” Ferro said, adding that “two-thirds of all maternal deaths today occur in sub-Saharan Africa”.