Factors affecting population growth

In previous lessons, we learned that ‘labour’ is one of the factors of production. Labour means efforts of human beings that is input into the production. Therefore, population is an important factor of development.

Factors affecting population growth

  • Birth Rate

  • It is the average number of the children born in a country compared to the rest of the population. In other words, it is the number of births for every 1000 people in the country. Increase in population is directly related to birth rate of the country.
    Factors affecting birth rate of a country
    a) Existing age-sex structure – More young people starting married life.
    b) Availability and awareness among people about family planning.
    c) Religious beliefs – there are many aspects to it. Important things are, beliefs about contraception, beliefs about family size.
    d) Female employment – We can see that more and more women are opting to work for some time before getting married and even after getting married, their career commitments may reduce the number of children they may want to have.
    e) Economic prosperity – Even though richer families can afford to have more children, their style of life may actually reduce the number of children they want to have.
    f) Poverty Levels – Even though bringing up children could cost more, a poor family may opt to have more children as they it could give more working hands for the family later.
    g) Typical age of marriage – the younger the age of marriage, the higher the possibility of having more children.
    h)infant mortality rate – if IMR is high, birth rate will be high as some children are expected to die young.


  • Death Rate

  • Death rate is the number of people who die every year compared to 1000 people in the population.
    Factors affecting death rate of a country
    a) Medical facilities and health care – better medical facilities and health care reduces death rate.
    b) Nutrition levels
    c) Living standard
    d) Access to clean drinking water
    e) Hygiene levels
    f) Levels of infectious diseases
    g) Social factors such as conflicts and levels of violent crime


  • Fertility Rate

  • Fertility rate of a population is the average number of children born to a woman in her life time. If fertility is high, population will increase.


  • Net Migration

  • Migration is the movement of people in to and out of the country. Net migration is the difference between the immigration(people moving in to the country) and emigration(people moving out of the country). A positive net immigration will increase the population, while the opposite decreases the population.

Why do some countries have higher population growth than others?

Given above are the main factors that affect population growth. However, there are specific factors that we can discuss.

Most of the countries restrict immigration and emigration
Immigration is restricted by countries for many reasons. The most important reason is that countries want to encourage skilled workers rather than unskilled workers. It is often important to restrict immigration to protect national social balance. Countries may also want to restrict emigration to prevent brain-drain(a situation of skilled workers leaving the country).

Some countries discourage child birth
The most noticeable example of this is the one-child policy in China. Even though this could help reduce population, it also created many undesirable results.

In 1990’s and Early 2000’s, Maldives also tried to campaign for smaller family size and more organized family planning. Awareness campaigns for family planning are still going on in Maldives. However, the campaign to reduce the number of children per family is stopped due to many negative outcomes that could arise because of that.

Next topic: Consequences of population changes at different stages of development

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