«Overpopulation in India and China» - Free Essay Paper

Overpopulation in India and China

Overpopulation is one of the most debated topics when exploring the condition of a state’s economy and the best way for a country to utilize its labor force. Some countries may have a large population and achieve rapid economic growth. Other countries may have a lower economic growth rate because of a large and less productive population. China has a population of 1.33 billion, making it the world’s most populous country. Similarly, India has a population of 1.1 billion people. The combined population of the two countries makes up one-third of the world’s total population. Though China has a higher population than India, the former will soon cede this title to the latter due to certain measures such as one-child policy. A large population imposes favorable or adverse effects on the economic and social dynamics and determines the position of the country in the global economy based on the utilization of the population. Overpopulation is an advantage in China in contrast to India because of China’s better economic approach to resource utilization, leading to low poverty levels and higher human security.

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Though China and India have a large labor force, their population exhibit opposite effects that lead to differences in the level of economic development. The notion presented by Thomas Malthus states that as the population increases, the standard of living reduces (Simon, 2014). However, the effect of high population in India and China presents a reverse relationship. The economic growth rate of China, which has a much higher population, is 7.8%, whereas the economic growth rate of India, which has a lesser population, is 6% (Chand & Tung, 2014). These statistics indicate that a large population might entail negative impacts in India, but result in positive effects in China.

Researchers can study the differences in the outcomes of overpopulation in the economies of China and India from the point of view of the dominant economic sectors. Furthermore, the levels of education and technological advancement influence fertility rates. India still views children as economic assets that increase the agricultural productivity of a household. India has one of the highest levels of child labor resulting from working in crude industries. Consequently, bonded labor has risen to proportions that are almost uncontrollable by the government. Children working in these crude industries have low productivity levels. Conversely, China is moving away from the agriculture industry to manufacturing. Moreover, China is more technologically advanced than India. Machines have replaced most of the work previously done by human beings. Therefore, the country has less fertility level. In India, the primary sector employs sixty percent of the population, whereas the tertiary sector employs twenty-eight percent (Liu & Yeh, 2015). In China, the primary sector employs forty-nine percent, whereas the tertiary sector employs thirty percent. The dominance of the primary sector in India indicates that the population is less productive and has limited use of advanced technologies. Therefore, overpopulation in India is a disadvantage because it generates a large number of people that are less productive. A large population is an advantage in China because they work in the tertiary sector; hence, they have higher productivity.

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Technological progress has increased the efficiency of utilization of human capital in China in contrast to India. As more technologically advanced state, China sustains population growth better than India because of a higher ability to utilize human capital. The advancement in technology has moved China to a manufacturing and service-based economy. Consequently, China has tremendously increased its per capita income. Slower technological advancement in India has derailed the process of transformation of the economy to service and manufacturing. If India could manage this transformation, the high fertility rates and overpopulation would lead to higher income. Unless India adopts faster technological progress to the levels of China, its large population would weigh down wages and incomes.

A large population is a source of labor for industries. China is a host of about 160 million internal immigrants. The immigrants have moved to China to seek better lives. In the process, they have become a source of low-cost labor for the industries established in China. The high production of the Chinese industries reflects the abundant low-cost labor. It is not surprising that China manages a 7% annual economic growth (Chand & Tung, 2014). However, the declining population in China threatens the supply of labor force. The declining fertility levels have resulted in a growing aging population. The population aged 60 years and above tends to increase from 200 million to 300 million in the next decade (Chand & Tung, 2014). The change in demographic trends indicates an interruption to the supply of cheap labor. China’s fast economic growth over the past three decades has grounded on a continuous supply of cheap labor. Therefore, a declining growth rate casts an apocalypse on the future of China’s economic growth.

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The discrepancies in the level of education between China and India impact the differences in the effects of overpopulation between two countries. The population of China have higher educational levels than India. Further, the gender gap influences the education system of India. The spillover extends to hurt economic growth. High level of education can raise economic growth similar to technological progress. The education of the girl child lags behind compared to the education levels of boys. Girl child primary school enrollment in India ranges from 20% to 50% (Singh, 2015). Conversely, China has the highest education levels, making it attain the fastest economic growth. The high level of economic growth reflects the equal school enrollment of boys and girls. The high education gender gap in India creates a large pool of unemployed women. Consequently, overpopulation creates a society with less productive people, which results in many social problems. China has a more egalitarian approach to the education system. Therefore, the entire population is highly productive. An increase in the population indicates an expansion of talent. Overpopulation in China implies a variety of highly productive labor force.

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Overpopulation is an advantage in China and a disadvantage in India because of the differences in human development. Earlier, two countries had similar population and per capita incomes. Since the HDI of China overtook India in 1973, its growth rate has increased faster than in India (Fox & Goodfellow, 2016). The HDI of China has grown four and half times higher than India’s. Similarly, the economy of China has increased three and half times faster than in India. Thus, overpopulation is a disadvantage in India because of low human development levels and an advantage in China because of the high human development levels.

Overpopulation is favorable in China and undesirable in India because China implements prudent economic policies. Through the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), China turned its high population to a valuable asset of production (Bräutigam & Tang, 2014). China centralized its economy by setting up the SEZs in selected areas. The establishment of the SEZs has directed domestic migration and realigned population patterns for the current and future decades. The proper policy has facilitated the centralization of urbanization in a small number of locations that were economically strategic. The prudent economic policy has stimulated rapid urbanization of China and the creation of highly skilled labor force. Rapid urbanization has stimulated industrial concentration creating higher levels of employment. The large population of China have secured jobs in the SEZs (Bräutigam & Tang, 2014). Higher levels of centralized urbanization in China have created a large labor market and allowed the service sector to interact with the manufacturing sector. Through increased coordination, China has succeeded in matching the workers’ skill characteristics and the industries’ job requirements. Therefore, the large population of China has become a resource rather than a social problem. Conversely, the democratic government structure of India has created a fragmented system, which has led to the loose coordination, lesser skilled labor force, and slower urbanization. Thus, India could not create high employment opportunities such as centralized urbanization structures have. The excess population of India have stayed jobless and would easily become a social problem. If China could adopt a coordinated policy to industrial transition, its overpopulation could become a resource rather than a burden.

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India can take a range of policy initiatives to convert its overpopulation to an advantage. One of the measures is to increase the literacy levels without gender bias. The policy will help India to increase the quality of its labor force and reduce the fertility levels as well. Women will spend more years studying and postpone marriage. If India cannot utilize its population optimally, such policies would help to reduce infertility and, thus, maintain a future population level that will match its resources. Other policies that could help India to increase the utility of its labor force include increased urbanization and coordination of industries. India should also augment advanced technologies in production processes to increase the productivity of labor.


Overpopulation has adverse impacts on urbanization and housing in India. The urban centers have a large number of shanties and other informal structures. The absolute levels of poverty have caused a progressive increase in the number of slums. More than sixty-five million Indians live in slums (Chant & McIlwaine, 2009). The slums are concentrated in towns such as Punjab and Tamil Nadu. The existence of slums reflects the sharp income inequality in India.

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Poverty in India features insufficient food. The available resources cannot meet the needs of the exploding population. About fifty-three percent of the Indian population under five years are malnourished. More than 15 million people in Mumbai reside on sidewalks. The annual population increase in India is 12 million, which is the largest world population increase (Driver, 2015). Even people who cannot afford two meals a day still give birth. The high population does not access sufficient food, quality education, and adequate facilities. The population has strained the country’s resources to the point the government cannot provide jobs to all young people.

Overpopulation causes poverty through pollution. The rapid population growth in India has become a great pollutant of the environment. The state experiencing the greatest impact of overpopulation is Assam. Before the period of population explosion in the state, it had alluvial soils and suitable climate. After the exploitation of the land using modern technologies, the land has begun to experience soil erosion and ecological imbalance. The forests have been encroached by agricultural activities. The forest cover has reduced from 40% to the current 21% of the state (Pandey et al., 2013) Continued deforestation would aggravate the adverse impacts on the environment.

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Though China has a high urban population, it does not have slums. More than half of the population in China are urban dwellers. The urban housing includes government subsidized houses or luxury apartments (Liu, Lu, & Chen, 2013). Lower standard housing is only found in rural areas. Housing in China shows a great difference from urban centers of India, which have slums. A large number of urban dwellers and the absence of slums indicate that overpopulation does not adversely affect housing and urbanization in China.

Overpopulation in China increases pressure on natural resources, but it is not the main cause of poverty. China has a lower poverty level than India. It has pulled more than three hundred million people out of poverty. Only 13% of the Chinese population can be classified as poor (Fox & Goodfellow, 2016). However, the large population strains the limited natural resources such as water, land, and gas. Though the growth rate of China’s GDP is one of the highest, it cannot sufficiently feed newborn babies and still build the national economy. The high population of China requires more facilities and human resource. For example, China does not have enough teaching facilities in rural areas. However, they are abundant in urban locations.

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Human Security

Overpopulation in India is the main cause of crime and violence. Due to the unemployment, the poor people engage in crime to get money. Since the level of education is low and property acquisition is difficult, the population harbor discontent and engage in crime. The crime-prone cities of India pose a great threat to human security. The second threat to human security in India is the huge economic disparity. The communities that are landless or live in small pieces of land feel marginalized. A revolt from these communities is plausible because they feel they need to regain their dignity. The marginalized groups feel that the government is not addressing their developmental needs. Consequently, India is experiencing a rise of regional radicalization. The influence of the Naxalite movement has grown and serves as a symptom that a significant number of people are dissatisfied with the government.











Overpopulation does not adversely affect human security in China. The crime rate in China is very low. The occurrence of murder in China is one fifth of the murder rate in India. Though more than 53% of the Chinese population reside in urban areas, the crimes are rare (Cheong & Wu, 2015). Since the unemployment rate in China is as low as 4%, people are engaged in the meaningful economic activity and rarely engage in crime (Sassen, 2002). As China strictly enforces order, the large population with guaranteed employment would not have an incentive to commit a crime that would threaten the security in the city.


In most aspects of economics, poverty, and security, overpopulation in China produces desirable effects, whereas overpopulation in India leads to the negative outcomes. In the economic front, the equality, development of the education system, and a high level of human development makes excess population resourceful in China. It is unfortunate that India has not developed these aspects to the level of China; hence, the excess population is less productive being a disadvantage for the country. If India could adopt the strategies of China such as the development of an appropriate and equitable education system, it could achieve more desirable outcomes. In addition to creating a highly productive workforce, the country would reduce fertility because women would spend more years in school and prioritize a career to marriage.

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