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Riddle of Population Growth

According to the 2001 Census, Andhra Pradesh in the previous decade showed the sharpest deceleration in population growth amongst the major states since independence. However, the evidence does not support such a decline in AP's population growth as none of the underlying factors (literacy, total fertility rate, infant mortality rate, female employment, etc) have moved in any extraordinary way as compared to the all-India figures during this period. Rather, if the 1991 population is correct, there is a distinctive probability of a substantial omission of either households or member(s) within households (or both) in the 2001 Census in the state.

Riddle of Population Growth

Deceleration in Andhra Pradesh during 1991-2001

According to the 2001 Census, Andhra Pradesh in the previous decade showed the sharpest deceleration in population growth amongst the major states since independence. However, the evidence does not support such a decline in AP’s population growth as none of the underlying factors (literacy, total fertility rate, infant mortality rate, female employment, etc) have moved in any extraordinary way as compared to the all-India figures during this period. Rather, if the 1991 population is correct, there is a distinctive probability of a substantial omission of either households or member(s) within households (or both) in the 2001 Census in the state.


I Introduction

s per the results of Census 2001, Andhra Pradesh appears to have reined in the consistently expanding population growth observed there in all the post-independence decades. This performance is truly remarkable when contrasted with the country as a whole as well as other states with documented demographic achievements. If Andhra Pradesh, with more than all-India population growth in 1981-91, can show the path adopted for controlling population growth in 1991-2001 and aid other states in replicating its initiatives, India is certain to reach a zero population growth much earlier than presently prognosticated. During 1991-2001, the annual1 population growth of Andhra Pradesh declined to 1.37 per cent from its highest ever annual growth of 2.19 per cent recorded in 1981-91 in Census 1991 while the slowdown in the population growth for the country as a whole was from 2.16 per cent during 1981-91 to 1.97 per cent during 1991-2001. From the state-wise growth rates given in Table 1, it may be easily computed that Andhra Pradesh has shown the steepest deceleration (-37 per cent) in the annual population growth amongst the major states since independence in the last decade.

Moreover, the deceleration, particularly during the later part of 1990s, appears to have heightened (Table 2) in Andhra Pradesh as its annual population growth during 2001 is seen to be merely

0.53 per cent per annum and is lower than that of even Tamil Nadu and Kerala – both of which had embarked on their declining population growth trajectory 20 years earlier. From the intercensus projections for the period 1981-91, it is further seen that the growth rate of Andhra Pradesh was 2.31 per cent per annum in the year 1987 [CSO 1996] and hence the decline in the annual growth rate of population from 2.31 per cent in 1987 to 0.53 per cent in 2001 is more profound. Presuming the same trends of population growth deceleration, today Andhra Pradesh must be on the verge of achieving (or has already achieved?) zero population growth.

Such achievements of Andhra Pradesh deserve due appreciation, especially from demographers and policy-makers. However, a certain degree of circumspection in accepting the results may be desirable, considering their long-term implications, because if we investigate the issue slightly deeper and examine the previous census results, the 1996 report of the Technical Group on Population Projections and Sample Registration System (SRS) results, we are immediately confronted with several contradictions of statistical congruity, necessitating comparison and collation of this steep decline with other concurrent and relevant indicators underlying the phenomenon to examine whether the growth deceleration is being corroborated by them.2

This paper, in six sections, is an attempt in this direction. Having introduced the subject in present section, Section II provides brief but vitally related aspects of population projections made in 1996. Section III analyses the population growth across the districts of Andhra Pradesh. In Section IV an attempt has been made to assess whether the growth of number of households and reduction in average household size are compatible with the observed population growth decline. Section V contrasts the population growth deceleration with various underlying factors like total fertility rate (TFR), infant mortality rate (IMR), literacy, domestic product and employment. The paper concludes in Section VI.

II Population Projections of 1996

The Planning Commission had set up a technical group on population projections in 1996, under the chairmanship of the then registrar general of India to, inter alia, prepare projections based on 1991 Census. Using the SRS average natural growth for 1990-92 (state level migration being taken as negligible), the populations of major 15 states and all-India were first projected for the years 1992-96 and thereafter, projections were made till 2016 as per the projections of likely levels of fertility, mortality and migration based on their observed trends [Planning Commission 1996]. Table 3 gives the growth rates as projected by the technical group for 1991-2001 in respect of major states and all-India and the 1990-92 natural growth rates used for projection up to 1996, along with other comparative observed/estimated growth rates of population for different periods.

Andhra Pradesh along with Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, is one of the states for which the population growth

Economic and Political Weekly October 21, 2006 during 1991-2001 as per Census 2001 and as projected by the Technical Group in 1996 turned out to be very close, i e, within a range of 5 per cent. As already observed, while projecting the population for the period 1992-2016, average natural growth rates of SRS for 1990-92 were used for base level (i e, 1992-96) population projections. Normally, there would be a difference between the exponential growth rate during any decade as a whole and the growth rate in the terminal year of the decade and the latter should be used for future projections. It can be seen that the difference between the annual growth rate during 1981-91 (column 5, Table 1) and the SRS natural growth rate used for projections (column 3, Table 3) was maximum in case of Andhra Pradesh. This difference could have been either the divergence inherent in two disparate data sets or the outcome of a sudden, albeit actual, decline in the population growth in late 1980s.

The difference between the 1981-91 population growth as per the Census 1991 and that from SRS (1982-91) natural growth (column 5, Table 3) is seen to be negligible (-0.06 per cent points) in case of all-India whereas in case of Andhra Pradesh, it is quite large (-0.29 per cent points and maximum amongst the major states). Therefore, even at the time of making projections in 1996, it must have been known that the SRS natural growth of population based on 1981-91 trends, though suitable for all-India, was quite underestimated in case of Andhra Pradesh.

Though the 1991-2001 growth rates of population as projected and the actual as per Census 2001 turned out to be surprisingly close, this per se does not prevent us from questioning the rationale for using Andhra Pradesh’s SRS growth rate for projections in 1996 in spite of wide differences observed in the past trends and the actuality as shown in 1991 Census. In case Andhra Pradesh’s population was indeed growing in the pattern reflected in SRS, it follows that the inter-census growth during 1981-91 was overestimated and consequently the 1991-2001 growth deceleration is also artificially steeper. In contrast, if the Census 1991 population growth is the actual growth, how is it the projected and actual population growth rates turned out to be so close, even after a significantly lower growth for the period 1990-92 based on SRS was utilised for projection purposes?

As to the other states, viz, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, having a minor deviation in projected and actual growth rates, it is seen that their past growth rates (of 1981-91) were also quite in agreement with the SRS growth rates used for projections. However, the case of West Bengal, not being taken up for discussion here, with 100 per cent accuracy of projections, even when its SRS natural growth differed from past trends, also needs a separate deeper analysis.

We have also analysed the difference of population growth as per Census 2001 and as projected in respect of those states where the differences between the 1981-91 growth rate and the ones used for base year (i e, 1996) projections were quite high. Apart3 from Andhra Pradesh, the difference between these growth rates was also quite high in case of Bihar and Maharashtra and as would be expected, the projections were ultimately proved to be underestimated in both these cases. It is also worth mentioning that in the case of Bihar, the SRS natural growth rate for 1990-92 used for base year projections was taken as 1.5 per cent instead of 2.16 per cent shown in SRS Compendium [RGI 1997: 54]. The reasons for this drastic deviation from the observed rate are not clear from the report of the technical group.

The SRS natural growth rates for years 2000 and 2001 at 1.31 per cent and 1.24 per cent per annum respectively, create further serious doubts about Andhra Pradesh’s actual rate of deceleration during 1991- 2001 and in particular, yearly growth rates as computed from the RGI data for these two years, given in Table 2 as the two data sets provide altogether different pictures of the

Table 1: Annual Population Growth Rates in Different Censuses

(Per cent)

States 1951-61 1961-71 1971-81 1981-91 1991-2001
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
Andhra Pradesh 1.46 1.92 2.10 2.19 1.37
Assam 3.04 3.04 2.12 2.19 1.75
Bihar 1.82 1.95 2.18 2.14 2.44
Gujarat 2.41 2.61 2.47 1.94 2.06
Haryana 2.95 2.83 2.56 2.45 2.53
Karnataka 1.97 2.19 2.40 1.93 1.63
Kerala 2.24 2.36 1.77 1.35 0.90
Madhya Pradesh 2.19 2.55 2.28 2.41 2.06
Maharashtra 2.14 2.46 2.22 2.32 2.07
Orissa 1.82 2.26 1.85 1.84 1.52
Punjab 1.97 1.98 2.17 1.91 1.85
Rajasthan 2.33 2.51 2.89 2.53 2.53
Tamil Nadu 1.13 2.03 1.63 1.44 1.11
Uttar Pradesh 1.55 1.82 2.30 2.30 2.30
West Bengal 2.88 2.41 2.11 2.23 1.65
India 1.98 2.24 2.23 2.16 1.97

Note: For states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, data is inclusive of newly created states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttaranchal, respectively.

Source: Computed from the Office of Registrar General of India data given in Table 1.1, CSO(2004) up to 1991 Census and final population data of Census 2001 downloaded from website (

Table 2: Annual Population Growth During 1990s

(Per cent)

State\Year 19921993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

Andhra Pradesh 1.81 1.71 1.60 1.47 1.34 1.20 1.05 0.89 0.71 0.53 Kerala 1.08 1.03 0.99 0.95 0.90 0.85 0.81 0.77 0.72 0.67 Tamil Nadu 1.25 1.20 1.16 1.12 1.07 1.02 0.97 0.92 0.87 0.81

Source:Computed from Provisional Population Totals, Paper 1 of 2001, Census of India data given in Table 1.2 in CSO (2004).

Table 3: Observed/Projected Population Growth Ratesfrom Different Sources

(Per cent)

State 1991-2001 1990-92 S R S 1981-91
Natural Growth 1990-92
Used in Projections
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
Andhra Pradesh 1.37 1.64 1.63 1.90
Assam 3.09 1.98 1.97 2.11
Bihar 1.51 1.50 2.16 2.32
Gujarat 1.82 1.97 1.95 2.10
Haryana 2.15 2.42 2.39 2.59
Karnataka 1.61 1.87 1.85 1.97
Kerala 1.02 1.25 1.24 1.57
Madhya Pradesh 2.14 2.31 2.28 2.34
Maharashtra 1.71 1.87 1.85 2.05
Orissa 1.31 1.70 1.68 1.86
Punjab 1.64 1.98 1.96 2.05
Rajasthan 2.12 2.47 2.44 2.44
Tamil Nadu 1.03 1.25 1.24 1.46
Uttar Pradesh 2.10 2.41 2.37 2.31
West Bengal 1.65 1.85 1.83 1.90
India 1.76 1.88 1.97 2.10

Note: Exponential population growths during 1981-91 in this column have been computed presuming that population had indeed followed the SRS growth pattern of that period.

Source:Column 2 and 3 are computed from the Technical Group report [Planning Commision 1996], Column 4 – SRS Compendium [RGI 1997] and Column 5 estimated from SRS compendium [RGI 1997].

Economic and Political Weekly October 21, 2006

deceleration rate. Even though it is conceded that there was a declining trend during the period 1991-2001, yet, in view of the SRS growth rate for the year 2001 being 1.24 per cent, it is inferred, even without applying any sophisticated statistical tool, that the census based population growth rate of Andhra Pradesh for the period 1991-2001 is highly disputatious.

The stress given and the space devoted to almost decade-old projections may appear to be undue in a cursory reading. However, a moot issue was that starting from a point far away from the actuality as far as population growth in early 1990s is concerned, belying all statistical and demographic trends, Andhra Pradesh’s final growth turned out to be exactly as predicted whereas the projections are seen to have failed in other states (e g, Bihar, Maharashtra) wherein also similar deviations from the actual trends got incorporated in the base year. In such eventualities, only one probable explanation can be that something extraordinary must have happened during 1991-2001 so as to make the projected and the actual population growth to be identical. In that case, exactly what has happened in Andhra Pradesh during 1991-2000 needs to be explored.

III Growth at District Level

The district-wise analysis of population throws more confounding growth patterns (Table 4). In the three populous districts, viz, East Godavari, Guntur and West Godavari, accounting for almost one-fifth of Andhra Pradesh’s population in 1991, the annual growth during 1991-2001 at 0.77 per cent, 0.84 per cent and 0.79 per cent respectively is not only much below that of the state, but also the fall from the 1981-91 growth is the sharpest. At rural/urban level, low growth is seen to be mainly on account of low urban growth in all these districts and is not attributable to urban areas being reclassified as rural (as their rural growth is also equally low) and vice-versa. Similar inexplicable growth patterns are observed in many other districts, e g, Prakasam, Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, etc.

This sharp decline can be attributed either to the decline in natural growth rate (i e, lower births or higher mortality) or the increased migration. However, the growth patterns of the remaining districts do not appear to support the intra-state migration hypothesis. The hypothesis of such a higher mortality as to bring down the growth so drastically can also be safely rejected outright. Last, but not the least, if the lower births were responsible for the observed low growth rates in 1991-2001, the level of new births in the terminal year (or today) in these districts would be unbelievably low, especially keeping in view the drastic deceleration trends of population growth during 1990s.

IV Number of Households and Household Size

The relationship of growth in number of households and change in average household size and their variation across the states can help us identify, to some extent, few plausible causes behind the steep decline of population growth in Andhra Pradesh. As is known, the household size is governed by demographic, social and economic factors. Demographically, it is affected by fertility, mortality and migration; sociologically by the norms, culture and customs prevailing in the society and economically, the type and extent of property rights and housing facilities. Growth rate of households, however, mainly depends upon the growth rate of population during the two decades preceding4 the reference period under study combined with the trend of nuclearisation; whereas changes in the household size are governed by the changes in fertility, mortality and nuclearisation. The commonality, i e, the nuclearisation trend, operate in opposite directions in influencing the magnitude of these two characteristics.

The number of households in Andhra Pradesh has shown an annual increase of 2.01 per cent during 1991-2001 (or 22 per

Table 4: District-Wise Annual Population Growthin Andhra Pradesh during 1981-2001

(Per cent)

District 1991-2001
1981-91 Total Rural Urban
Adilabad 2.41 1.80 1.34 3.20
Anantapur 2.24 1.35 1.11 2.09
Chittoor 1.77 1.40 1.16 2.30
Cuddapah 1.62 1.38 1.57 0.76
East Godavari 2.07 0.77 0.81 0.64
Guntur 1.80 0.84 0.85 0.80
Hyderabad 3.40 1.99 1.99
Karimnagar 2.23 1.40 1.54 0.84
Khammam 2.38 1.53 1.58 1.32
Krishna 1.95 1.25 1.82 0.14
Kurnool 2.13 1.73 2.09 0.62
Mahbubnagar 2.33 1.64 1.65 1.56
Medak 2.31 1.34 1.40 0.82
Nalgonda 2.27 1.31 1.14 2.49
Nellore 1.73 1.10 1.28 0.51
Nizamabad 1.95 1.42 1.69 0.28
Prakas am 1.71 1.04 1.18 0.29
Rangareddi 4.83 3.43 1.97 4.86
Srikakulam 1.71 0.90 1.07 (-) 0.41
Visakhapatnam 2.46 1.55 1.53 1.58
Vizianagaram 1.58 0.64 0.50 1.27
Warangal 2.05 1.42 1.45 1.32
West Godavari 2.04 0.78 0.91 0.30
Andhra Pradesh 2.19 1.37 1.31 1.52

Note: There is no rural area in Hyderabad.

Source: Computed from O/o RGI, Census of India, Final Population Totals, Series 1 data.

Table 5: Growth of Number of Households and Household Size during 1991-2001

Household Size State Growth of Number 1991 2001 Change during of Household in 1991-2001 1991-2001

(Per Cent) (Number) (Per Cent)

Andhra Pradesh 2.01 4.77 4.48 (-) 6.08 Assam 2.49 5.83 5.42 (-) 7.03 Bihar 2.84 6.16 5.93 (-) 3.73 Gujarat 2.61 5.51 5.23 (-) 5.08 Haryana 3.57 6.30 5.70 (-) 9.52 Karnataka 2.48 5.52 5.08 (-) 7.97 Kerala 2.01 5.28 4.73 (-) 10.42 Madhya Pradesh 2.51 5.65 5.41 (-) 4.25 Maharashtra 2.47 5.14 4.95 (-) 3.70 Orissa 2.58 5.28 4.76 (-) 9.85 Punjab 2.42 5.92 5.60 (-) 5.41 Rajasthan 2.48 6.04 6.06 0.33 Tamil Nadu 1.58 4.45 4.26 (-) 4.27 Uttar Pradesh 2.03 6.22 6.38 2.57 West Bengal 2.41 5.44 5.05 (-) 7.17 India 2.45 5.57 5.31 (-) 4.67

Note: For states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, data is inclusive of newly created states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttaranchal, respectively.

Source: Computed from Census 1991 and 2001 data.

Economic and Political Weekly October 21, 2006 cent over the whole decade). This growth may be adduced as clinching evidence to counter the two aspects of undercounting because (it would be argued) for, one, the households are increasing at a normal pace, proving that no household was omitted and secondly, census enumerators would not omit from counting any member of a household once it is taken up for enumeration.

The growth rate of households and change in the household size can also give a fairly good idea about the steep decline of the population growth. From Table 5, it may be seen that amongst the major states (as well as all-India), except Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, wherever the average household size has declined during the last decade, the growth rate of households is more than the population growth rate observed during 1971-81. Moreover, the growth of households is more than the respective population growth during 1971-81 in respect of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and in both these cases, the average household size has increased.

Hence, two obvious conclusions regarding changes in household size during 1991-2001 may be drawn. One, in the states where growth rate of households is more than that of population, the nuclearisation trend in families must have increased and decline in household size is due to net effect of decline in TFR as well as mortality and increased nuclearisation. Secondly, the case of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, where the growth of households is less than the respective population growth during 1971-81, is only possible if the preference towards joint family system had increased; which would have worked towards increasing the household size. Even though the number of households increased due to nuclearisation, its downward effect on the household size has been absorbed within the combined effect of decline in TFR as well as mortality, resulting in an increase in the average household size in these two states.

Though the changes in fertility and mortality (or expectation of life) in Andhra Pradesh were almost same as that for all-India (as seen in the next section), yet the growth of number of households there was less than the growth of population whereas the growth of the number of households for all-India is much more than its population growth. This scenario is possible only if a reversal of the nuclearisation process (i e, increased proportion of joint families) took place in Andhra Pradesh in 1990s. However, this proposition does not appear to be logical, keeping in view the higher than all-India decline in its average household size, indicating increased nuclearisation. In that case, the difference between growth of the population and growth of the number of households in Andhra Pradesh must have been at least equal to that for all-India.

Thus, if 1991 population figures are taken as correct, the growth of the number of households in Andhra Pradesh during 1990s is not in consonance with the observed population growth and the reduction in average household size. Therefore, the probability of a substantial omission of either households or member(s) within households (or both) during the last census cannot be ruled out altogether there.

V Total Fertility Rate

The growth rate of population ultimately depends on the difference of birth rate and death rate, besides migration – which, in India, has always been negligible and never so high as to affect population growth even at the state level, barring perhaps the reported migration from Bangladesh in some north-eastern states.

The determinants of fertility have been known to be health, education, urbanisation, economic upliftment and status of women; many of which also tend to affect the death rate to different extent in various interconnected ways. The social norms like incidence of nuptiality and age at marriage also affect fertility (and in turn get influenced by many determinants of fertility enumerated). TFR is, therefore, one of the strongest indicators to suggest whether any radical change, as to the number of persons added to the 1991 cohort, indeed occurred in 1990s in Andhra Pradesh. However, available indicators from disparate sources point to the contrary. As per National Family Health Survey (NFHS-2), amongst major states, TFR is seen to be strongly and negatively correlated with female singulate mean age at marriage (Table 6). The correlation coefficient is (-)0.60 in rural (insignificant at 5 per cent but significant at 10 per cent) and (-)0.74 in urban India (significant at 5 per cent). Moreover, if Andhra Pradesh is excluded from the computations, the correlation coefficients immediately jump to -0.75 and -0.83 in rural and urban India respectively (both significant at 5 per cent).

Thus Andhra Pradesh appears to be an outlier especially in the rural area and the observed low TFR is not compatible with its low female singulate mean age at marriage. Moreover, in Andhra Pradesh, age specific fertility rate (ASFR) in 15-19 age group is highest in urban areas and much above the all-India average (in fact, it is the third highest after Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra) in rural areas. This must also be the reflection of lower female singulate mean age at marriage (17.6 and 20.3 years

Table 6: Female Singulate Mean Age at Marriage and TFR

State Rural Urban
Mean Age TFR Mean Age TFR
Andhra Pradesh 17.6 2.32 20.3 2.07
Assam 21.5 2.39 23.6 1.50
Bihar 18.5 3.59 20.9 2.75
Gujarat 19.6 3.03 21.1 2.33
Haryana 19.2 3.13 21.4 2.24
Karnataka 19.4 2.25 21.5 1.89
Kerala 21.2 2.07 22.7 1.51
Madhya Pradesh 18.2 3.56 20.9 2.61
Maharashtra 18.6 2.74 21.3 2.24
Orissa 21.0 2.50 22.8 2.19
Punjab 21.9 2.42 23.2 1.79
Rajasthan 17.8 4.06 19.9 2.98
Tamil Nadu 20.4 2.23 21.7 2.11
Uttar Pradesh 18.3 4.31 21.5 2.88
West Bengal 18.7 2.49 22.4 1.69
All states
Correlation coefficient (-) 0.6017 (-) 0.7447
Calculated t-value (-) 2.72 (-) 4.02
Excluding Andhra Pradesh
Correlation coefficient (-) 0.7481 (-) 0.8265
Calculated t-value (-) 3.91 (-) 5.09

Note: For states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, data is inclusive of newly created states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttaranchal, respectively.

Source: NFHS (2000). Correlation Coefficients and t-values computed.

Table 7: IMR and Literacy Rates – Andhra Pradesh vis-a-vis India

India Andhra Pradesh
1991 2001 1991 2001
IMR Rural 9 0 7 2 7 7 7 4
(per thousand live births) Literacy rate (per cent) Urban Total Male Female Total 5 4 84 64.1 39.3 52.2 4 2 66 75.3 53.7 64.8 5 6 73 55.1 32.7 44.1 3 9 66 70.350.4 60.5

Source:Literacy rates from census results, IMR from RGI (1997) and CSO (2004).

Economic and Political Weekly October 21, 2006

in rural and urban areas respectively against all-India average of 19 and 19.7 years). Overall, the fall of TFR in Andhra Pradesh was lower than the all-India estimates during the period 1990 to 1997. Therefore, on this count alone (ignoring other factors like increased mortality and/or migration), population growth deceleration in Andhra Pradesh should have been less than that for all-India.

While interpreting the NFHS results, caution needs to be exercised about the limitations of the survey; particularly the age misreporting which translates into differences in the degree of displacements of births from the survey period to which TFR pertains [NFHS 2000: 86]. However, even from the SRS estimates, the TFR of Andhra Pradesh has declined from 3.1 in 1990 to

2.5 in 1997, whereas the all-India estimates were 3.8 and 3.3 respectively in these two years. Interestingly, TFR of Andhra Pradesh in the 15-19 age group is highest as per the SRS even in 2000 [RGI 2003].

Therefore, had there been a social revolution sweeping Andhra Pradesh, the 15-19 age group would have been the foremost to benefit from heightened social awareness and changes, both in terms of mean age at marriage as well as fertility; gains which are conspicuous by their absence. Anyway, though the performance of Andhra Pradesh was only slightly better than all-India average on TFR front in 1990s as per SRS (but lower as per NFHS), it is not so radical as to result in the steep deceleration to the extent observed in population growth. Another vital aspect not to be lost sight of is that the population growth of Andhra Pradesh was peaking in late 1970s and early 1980s and thus, all the surviving female cohort of that era would have passed their ages of maximum fertility (15-19 and 20-24 years) in 1990s. Hence, even if TFRs have come down, population growth may still be rapid on account of population momentum.

Infant Mortality Rate and Literacy

It is generally believed that high IMR and illiteracy are the most prominent hurdles in controlling rate of population growth. However, the achievement of Andhra Pradesh in both these areas is just average (Table 7). In the case of IMR, its position in 2001 is identical to the all-India average (in rural areas, Andhra Pradesh’s IMR is slightly higher; and in urban areas, slightly lower than all-India) whereas on the literacy front, it is marginally lower. More importantly, while the all-India IMR fell from 84 to 66 during 1991-2001, Andhra Pradesh’s decline from 73 to 66 was relatively prosaic. Also, though its pace of literacy was more than all-India, literacy rates of Andhra Pradesh are still lower than all-India. Moreover, in many states, namely, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, all having lower IMR and higher literacy than Andhra Pradesh; the declines in population growth have been far less spectacular (in Gujarat the growth rate has in fact increased).

Status of Women and Economic Parameters

Status of women in society is determined by their autonomy in the matters pertaining to themselves. This autonomy is, invariably, an outcome of their tangible earning capacity (mere household work remaining unpaid and largely unrecognised) and the resultant control over money matters. Such women tend to give more importance to small families, health (maternal as well as child) and education. Aiyar (2004) has pointed out the role of NGOs like Grameen Bank in pioneering micro-credit to groups of women in Bangladesh thereby empowering them in various ways as well as the employment opportunities provided in Bangladesh Rural Advancement Centre run 70,000 schools wherein almost all teachers are females. This has resulted in TFR getting reduced dramatically from 6.1 in 1980 to 2.9 in 2001 in Bangladesh, besides changing traditional social attitudes. It is, therefore concluded that, if women were empowered, among others, with microcredit and education and their entry into workforce is facilitated, fertility would take care of itself.

Economic indicators like growth of gross state domestic product (GSDP) and employment in Andhra Pradesh are lagging behind the all-India average growth (Table 8). During 1994-2000, the disparity in the GSDP growth rate of Andhra Pradesh visà-vis all-India is seen to have rather widened in comparison of 1983-93/94. The bleak scenario continues in employment (aggregate and sectoral) growth too, both on Usual Principal and Subsidiary Status (UPSS) as well as Current Daily Status (CDS) so much so that there is a decline in absolute numbers employed in agriculture, the mainstay of rural economy even today. This incidentally confutes the claim, if any, of the rural prosperity, which might have been made to justify the relatively lower urbanisation in Andhra Pradesh and the fall in the share of urban population in many of its districts.5

From Table 9, giving gender and category-wise growth of workforce in Andhra Pradesh vis-à-vis all-India, it may be seen that as per census, its growth rate of female workers is substantially low in comparison with the all-India growth rate during 1991-2001 and as per NSS, growth is even negative during 1993-94 – 1999-2000. Therefore, the possibility of decline in

Table 8: Growth of Domestic Product and Employment – Andhra Pradesh vis-à-vis India

(Per cent)

Year/Item India Andhra Pradesh

Domestic Product 1983-1993/94 5.37 5.21 1993/94-1999/2000 6.60 5.28 Employment Growth during 1994-2000

Aggregate CDS 1.02 0.42 UPSS 1.01 0.26

Primary CDS 0.01 (-) 0.16 UPSS 0.04 (-) 0.18

Secondary CDS 3.03 1.91 UPSS 2.37 0.16

Tertiary CDS 2.26 1.18 UPSS 2.28 1.73

Source: Bhattacharya and Sakthivel (2003).

Table 9: Employment Growth in India and Andhra Pradesh by Gender and Category of Workers

(Per cent)

1991-2001 1994-2000 (Census-Based) (NSS-Based) Item Main Marginal Total UPSS

India Person 0.91 12.09 2.49 1.01 Male 0.81 29.59 2.07 1.37 Female 1.28 7.90 3.57 0.24

Andhra Pradesh Person 0.20 14.36 1.52 0.27 Male 0.46 36.10 1.49 0.54 Female (-) 0.26 9.97 1.64 (-) 0.13

Note: Total workers computed by applying rural/urban male/female Usual Principal and Subsidiary Status (UPSS) Workers Participation Rates (WPRs) to the respective population of each category estimated by interpolating for inter-census period.

Source: Computed from Census 1991 and 2001 data and NSS 50th and 55th round reports.

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fertility rate on account of increased female participation in in the state. Till migration results from Census 2001 become available, this shall remain a mere (untenable) conjecture.

workforce can be simply ruled out.

3 Though the difference was quite high in case of Assam also, it is not being

VI Conclusion

Thus, none of the other concurrent and relevant factors support, by any extraordinarility of their movements, the significant population growth decline, much more than all-India average, in Andhra Pradesh in 1990s. The SRS natural growth rate of Andhra Pradesh for 2000 and 2001 at 1.31 per cent and 1.24 per cent per annum respectively also strongly supports the contention that its growth rate deceleration could not have been as sharp as reflected in 2001 Census results. Rather, if 1991 population is considered to be correct, there is a distinct probability of substantial omission of either households or member(s) within households (or both) in Census 2001.

Moreover, summum bonum of lower population growth is an improvement in the factors like economic upliftment, health, education, etc. What is the observed declined population growth, if true, really worth if it has not resulted in any improvement in these factors? Of course, the question is rhetorical. Or, is it that the hitherto accepted determinants of slower population growth did not operate in Andhra Pradesh in 1990s and the growth decline came about on account of other, as yet unknown, factors?




1 Annual population growth for various periods implies the exponential

growth rate, unless the comparison is on year-to-year basis. 2 At the outset, we are discounting the possibility of a huge emigration from

the state during 1990s being responsible for the observed population growth

decline since it cannot be considered as a sign of positive development

as far as improvement in the underlying factors of slow population growth

is concerned. Such eventuality may rather indicate worsening economic

opportunities, with their attendant social and demographic implications considered here, as 1981 Census could not be held in Assam and its growth rate for 1981-91 is estimate based. Secondly, though SRS natural growth

(1.97 per cent per annum) was used by the technical group for projecting population up to 1996, its population growth during 1991-2001 was projected to be 3.09 per cent per annum. This must have been based on the assumed sudden population spurt visualised for late 1990s. Reason, if any, for such assumptions is not available from the technical group report.

4 No child born during current decade and almost none (barring a minuscule proportion) born during the previous decade is likely to create a new family. In the Indian scenario, a new family is almost always created, with some time-lag, after marriage of a son. Of course, there are wide variations across regions and social as well as denominational strata. The nuclearisation process in 1990s is, therefore, more likely to have been governed, among others, by the population growth during 1971-81, which has been used as the average period children born in which would participate in the process of formation of new households during 1991-2001.

5 Though there has been a marginal increase in the share of urban population from 26.89 per cent in 1991 to 27.3 per cent in 2001 in Andhra Pradesh as a whole, 15 of its 23 districts experienced decline in their shares of urban population.


Aiyar, Swaminathan, S Ankalesaria (2004): ‘Muslims, Learn from Bangladesh’, The Times of India, September 12.

Bhattacharya, B B and S Sakthivel (2003): ‘Economic Reforms and Jobless Growth in India in the 1990s’, The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Vol 46, No 4.

CSO (1996): ‘Selected Socio-Economic Statistics India 1994’, Central Statistical Organisation, Government of India, New Delhi.

– (2004): ‘Selected Socio-Economic Statistics India 2002’, Central Statistical Organisation, Government of India, New Delhi. NFHS (2000): ‘National Family Health Survey (NFHS-2) 1998-99 India’,

International Institute of Population Sciences, Mumbai, India.

NSSO: Reports of the NSS 50th and 55th rounds, NSSO, Government of India.

Planning Commission (1996): ‘Report of the Technical Group on Population

Projections’, Planning Commission, Government of India, New Delhi. RGI: Reports of census 1991 and 2001 and Final Population Total, Series 1.

– (1997): Compendium of SRS-India’s Fertility and Mortality Indicators 1971-97, Registrar General of India, New Delhi.

–(2003): Sample Registration System Statistical Report 2000, Report No 5 of 2003, Registrar General of India, New Delhi.

August 26, 2006
Infant Survival: A Political Challenge —Shantha Sinha
Decentralised Childcare Services: The SEWA Experience —Mirai Chatterjee
Food Dole or Health, Nutrition and Development Programme? —Shanti Ghosh
Infant and Young Child Feeding: An ‘Optimal’ Approach —Arun Gupta
Hidden Hunger: The Problem and Possible Interventions —Tara Gopaldas
Universalisation of ICDS and Community Health Worker Programmes: Lessons from Chhattisgarh —T Sundararaman

Implementation of ICDS in Bihar and Jharkhand —Nandini Nayak, Naresh C Saxena

Tamil Nadu: ICDS with a Difference —Anuradha Khati Rajivan

Rethinking ICDS: A Rights Based Perspective —Dipa Sinha

Chhattisgarh: Grassroot Mobilisation for Children’s Nutrition Rights —Samir Garg

For copies write to Circulation Manager

Economic and Political Weekly

Hitkari House, 284, Shahid Bhagatsingh Road, Mumbai 400 001 email:

Economic and Political Weekly October 21, 2006

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