Are large populations a blessing or a curse for a nation?

Population - a symbol of power


Nowadays, it is a fashion to indicate or symbolize population with poverty, but I think this is oversimplification. If this was true, the most populated country China would have been very poor and the least populated countries of Africa with their vast natural resources would have been rich.

If we talk about a country like India, which has a democratic type of government, yes the number counts and a group having largest population surely achieves success. Some people would like to argue that quality and not the quantity is the real power, but in any social or political setups no one can ignore the force of big numbers.

Population overgrowth - curse or blessing
Population overgrowth - curse or blessing

Population - A curse


Now lets look at this issue from other way round which is that population is strength only when you have the power to feed the people, employ the people, and house them. If you do not have that power, population is not merely a minor irritant rather it is a major problem. If you don’t have the capability to feed a single person, then one is too much. Similarly, the African countries may have a smaller population than India, but even that population is too much for them because they are not able to handle them.


Yes, I agree that population is a big curse to a nation, just think if India had 20 crore people less everything would have been changed. There would have been sufficient jobs for people. No deaths due to poverty and hunger, as all the resources would have been utilized efficiently and consumed appropriately.

For a human to live happily, we need water, food, clothing, fuel, minerals and many more things.

Take an example of Ahmedabad in India. I know about tons of people having 3 to 4 kids over there. Both the parents join together and are barely able to make Rs 5000 per month and after feeding and clothing 3 to 4 kids and themselves, they have NOTHING left. They are not consumer of anything, except food and cloth. They cannot even put the kids in a good English or convent school and all of them go to municipality school, where they learn. What? Nothing.

Yes I agree that the well-educated people in India have accepted family planning norms and most of them are going for 1 or at max two children. The problem is with the uneducated class who still are giving birth on an average to 4 to 6 children. They are completely unaware of the functioning of the female menstrual cycle and at some places, they even consider children as gifts from God.

So the fact we need to consider is not what the large population of India has done till date; but what kind of population are we growing now.

What do you think about China and Japan’s one-child policy?


When I asked this question to one of my friend, he said, “See how disastrous is one-child policy. Your grandparent’s generation has 100 people, your parent's generation 50 and your just 25. Thus when your parents and grandparents grow old, just 25 youth people's work and income will be required to look after the older 150 people of your parent and grandparent's generation. Japan will cease to be a power, leave alone a global power for this reason, although in Japan, the cause was low birth rate. In West, immigration has arrested the disaster temporarily. Japan does not allow much immigration and could not handle the situation. Now China will soon face the music! Diminishing population scenario like China and Japan due to low birth rate will adversely affect growth and have devastating consequences on GDP due to diminishing labour force! Till date, which European country faced this "hypothetical problem"?”

But I said that “all countries with high population growth rate are facing dire economic problem. China adopted one child policy so that parents could give more time to raise, educate and train the child. As a result, Chinese children are far, far better nourished and educated than Indian kids. Around 50% of Indian kids are malnourished. Some 25% kids have faced malnutrition to the extent that their IQ has reduced by 5 points. By 2020, China will be way ahead of us in terms of human capital. It is another matter that China will implode due to rising corruption in their police, courts, etc. and will become another USSR. And as population will decrease, the average age will increase and health will also improve, so people will keep working until much older age. Further, even at elder age, people can do light and clerical, etc. work, so labor force will not decline that drastically, so if you count number of *disabled* person a working person will be supporting, that remains the same.”

India has more than 114 crore people now. It is TOO MUCH given the low amount fuel and water in India. If we keep growing at 1.5% a year, we will never be able to provide quality education to all kids in India.

Take a census. The families having 1 to 2 kids give better education to kids than families having more than two kids in the same income level.

Populated India
Populated India
What world leaders think?
What world leaders think?

You can also do a simple math.


English medium schools are almost twice as expensive as local language medium, so if husband and wife earn Rs 15000/month, then they can provide English or convent school to ONLY one or two kids. If they have more than two kids, they will go to vernacular language schools and will be jobless when they get out.


Growing and growing
Growing and growing

So after taking all the above points in consideration, I think that large population can become a blessing for a nation when we could mould this large population to some important and profitable resource to become a profitable asset for the country. What I mean by moulding is to provide them some good jobs. If you take and example of country like India and look at Indian GDP, service sector is the only sector, which is showing a continuous double digit growth and is a major contributor to Indian GNP and this sector does not require much resources other than Human Capital, just the managers need more leadership skills to motivate and provide them proper direction.

But if you are not able to mould this large population in good assets as I described above, all this turns into a curse.


Burdening earth
Burdening earth

More by this Author


36 comments

princeland 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

When we were 40 crores after independence we were worst, when we were 60 crores in the sixties we were worse, when we were 80 crores in the late eighties we were still bad. We became good only when we were 100 crores, now with 115 crores we are better. The whole world is recognizing us. Without our population China and India would have no place in the world. We would be best when we will be 200 crores! This is my prophecy.

Population growth in India is rapid with rapid growth of GDP. This is because the cheap labour force, which is needed for developing the economy. The world is acknowledging us for our large market/population!

In East Bengal/Bangladesh Hindu Bhadralok was the dominant force with high quality education and riches but could not prevent the majority Bengali Muslims from creating Pakistan/Bnagladesh. Same is true of Kashmir. In Iraq too, Shias have recaptured power from minority Sunnis.

We lost to China because of our relative less population at early sixties. We always are superior to Pakistan because of our Population. Or else in all world index of social and economic factors there is not much difference between Pakistan and India. Do we want to negate this advantage soon?


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 7 years ago from New Delhi, India Author

Princeland you said "When we were 40 crores after independence we were worst, when we were 60 crores in the sixties we were worse, when we were 80 crores in the late eighties we were still bad. We became good only when we were 100 crores, now with 115 crores we are better. The whole world is recognizing us. Without our population China and India would have no place in the world. We would be best when we will be 200 crores! This is my prophecy."

Here is my view: The changes that our nation witnessed were repeated in almost every country of similar resources. The population didn’t contribute much. If you look at India's population you will find that the growth rate is highest among the poor. If this continues for much longer, we'll be USA and Sudan at the same time. Open your eyes and you will see that Indian population is a ticking time bomb. My prediction is that unless we do not implement the one child norm strictly (especially for the poor), India will soon witness an explosion of poverty.


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 7 years ago from New Delhi, India Author

Princeland you said “Population growth in India is rapid with rapid growth of GDP. This is because the cheap labour force, which is needed for developing the economy. The world is acknowledging us for our large market/population!”

Here is my view: “I see the population as more mouths to feed. If we don’t have the capacity to buy, how will we anything other than window shoppers.”


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago

Thank you for your detailed analysis Mr Soni. I threw this question up precisely because it is a complex one with no easy answers. A shallow-thinking person's response is likely to be what we have seen in one of the answers. I agree largely with what you have written - a large population can be a blessing if sustainable development has taken place without taxing the earth's resources.


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 7 years ago from New Delhi, India Author

First of all, I would like to thank you Mr. Singh for putting up this question and secondly about your really conclusive comment.

Regarding your statement, "A shallow-thinking person's response is likely to be what we have seen in one of the answers".

I observed this and agree with you. You have got it right.


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 7 years ago from New Delhi, India Author

Princeland you said “In East Bengal/Bangladesh Hindu Bhadralok was the dominant force with high quality education and riches but could not prevent the majority Bengali Muslims from creating Pakistan/Bangladesh. Same is true of Kashmir. In Iraq too, Shias have recaptured power from minority Sunnis.”

Here is my view: “That is an inevitable consequence of overpopulation. Many political alliances will try to polarize people based on narrow mindsets. Quality should count not quantity.

We are not respected for simply our population. While its true that Indians are a big market, the myth that the Indian middle class is the new el-Dorado has long been demolished.

What we are most respected for is our political system - A raucous but representative and functioning democracy. We are also respected for our predilection for calm, our English and the vague similarities to Anglo-Saxon law, legislature and executive.

FYI India in market attractiveness terms is equal to Brazil, Russia, Egypt, Philippines, Vietnam, etc which aren't exactly bulging at the seams like us.

Yes population IS an attraction but companies invest in India not for the current population but in the hope that the population goes UP the value chain and consumes more.”


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 7 years ago from New Delhi, India Author

Princeland you said “We lost to China because of our relative less population at early sixties. We always are superior to Pakistan because of our Population. Or else in all world index of social and economic factors there is not much difference between Pakistan and India. Do we want to negate this advantage soon?”

Here is my reply: “Can India be a match to USA, UK, Germany, and Japan? Do they have a bigger population than India? Not even close to that.

These countries are where they are because they have many resources. They do not have the burden of a huge population, so they have money to spend on more things than removing poverty. Just imagine where India would have been with lesser spending on poverty removal and more on development. Yes, I admit we have made strides, but still I say we missed giant leaps. We should learn from the mistakes of the Africans. They didn’t have a huge population by mere numbers, still they had a population, their resources could not sustain. If we are not careful, we may also be headed towards a similar fate.


shamelabboush profile image

shamelabboush 7 years ago

It can be a curse but also can be blessing if the masses are really invested. Let's look at Egypt for example, the population is over 70 million and Egypt is considered one of the poorest countries, while if we look at Germany, the population is almost 60 million but Germany is one of the leading countries on the other hand! It's a tricky matter which depends entirely on teh type of the government...


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 7 years ago from New Delhi, India Author

Yes Mr. Abboush you are exactly true. It totally depends on the type of government and how that gov. manipulates and uses its assets to become high potential resources. If the masses are not invested properly, there is no use of large populations and rather it will become a burden.


bala99 profile image

bala99 7 years ago from Hyderabad, Telangana, India.

If education, health, jobs, security and other basic factors are taken good care of, Yes a large population is productive and an asset. Barren life often contributes to a very devastating situation, population large or small.


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 7 years ago from New Delhi, India Author

Yes Bala I agree because if there are no jobs, no health facilities, no security from terrorists, and no education standards, then it becomes a really worrying situation. If all these things are made strong, any country's large population will benefit it.


pankaj3625 profile image

pankaj3625 7 years ago from Delhi

A very good hub indeed. I love reading all the details and comments too.


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 7 years ago from New Delhi, India Author

Thanks for Pankaj for your kindness and support.


ocbill profile image

ocbill 7 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

I prefer quality over quantity anyday. So many people become so relaxed or refreshed from a weekend away from all the hustle and bustle.


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 7 years ago from New Delhi, India Author

Yes Ocbill to me also quality matters a lot but if quantity combines with better quality, the results will be much more productive.


kirstenblog profile image

kirstenblog 7 years ago from London UK

Wow this one got me thinking! My first thought before I even started reading was that of perspective, how to you define weather a large population is a curse or blessing. On the one hand a nation with a reasonably smaller population will often have higher levels of education (tho even that is not a guarantee, look at the american education system, everyone says its going downhill and they are not wrong) and higher levels of social welfare as its sustainable to have. On the other hand you get high levels of un employment as the population wont do the low paid 'crappy' jobs and you have to import people willing to do the work or move the businesses elsewhere. If businesses continue to move to highly dense populated countries for a cheep labor force will it stay cheep? with the masses of people start to demand more? I expect over the rest of my life at least we will see the balance of power shifting and its hard to say where it will leave me in my retirement years. I have actually been seriously considering moving to NZ for this reason, there they have 30 sheep per person in the populace meaning there is room for growth while being able to maintain a certain level of self sufficiency.


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 7 years ago from New Delhi, India Author

Thanks Kirsten for expressing your really valuable view on this issue, especially your seriously considering moving to NZ to maintain a certain level of self sufficiency.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 7 years ago

Thanks for the interesting hub.

Sure, there's strength in numbers, but that's not everything. I come from Singapore, a tiny island, a mere dot on the word map with a small population of roughly 4.6 million. It is the most prosperous, progressive and forward-looking city in South-east Asia. I think a lot of it has to do with the authority in power. A good government is able to harness the strength of the population and make the best of it.


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 7 years ago from New Delhi, India Author

Yes anglnwu, I agree that there is strength in numbers, but that is not everything. We need to vote properly to create a good government which can assess, analyze, and use the power of population in an effective manner.


2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

An interesting hub - it is unusual to read both sides of the argument. Nice balance here.


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 6 years ago from New Delhi, India Author

Yes 2patricias, both sides of the coin need to be checked and assessed before making a decision and also balance should be maintained. Thanks for the appreciation.


nomoretrucks profile image

nomoretrucks 5 years ago from scotland

Amazing insight on your hub here Soni. Many Western world hubbers need to visit this as many live in ignorance of the incredible steps India has taken over time to be the emerging power in the world it is. I had to fortune to become an aquaintance of several second and third generation Indians who always struck me as deeper and intelligent thinkers i learned much from. My cousin is a very educated man Dr Vaughan bell and when he writes he shows the same sort of balenced thinking- but he is in the minority. I ended up in a bad way a few years back before things changed for the better in my life, i lived on the street and ate from bins and was glad for any sort of comfort so i empathise with folk who live with nothing. Many never have the privelage to see both sides from this point of view- they live in a privelaged society from the cradle to the grave. Respect for your deep and broad thoughs.Maybe there should be more balenced thought in respective governments over longer term.


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 5 years ago from New Delhi, India Author

Thanks for your comment and visit nomoretrucks.


gill 5 years ago

there needs to be a balance...to low of a population the nation lacks work force and even enough young men for the army to defend the nation...to many people leaves the nation struggling to feed and take care of them all. i think indias population should have been 500-600 million with a birth rate 2.1...but sadly we missed that mark long time ago and mite be but to late now.imagine if india had only 600 million people with its current econmy...with that we could have spend our resources on making the ecomny better educating more population even more and since we would have not been under the burden of feedinf the poor even a very strong army..maybe even the 3rd in the world after usa and russia..china and paki would have not been threat if we had stronger army...but i dont think india can run very will with less than 500 million people.


road2hell profile image

road2hell 4 years ago from Linden, AB

Why do people still hold onto the notion that "bigger is better"? Be careful what you ask for.

A large population experiencing exponetial growth is one of worst scenarios a country can ask for. India's one billion people with a growth rate of 1.55% will lead to a country with more than 2.2 billion people by 2050. How can one country feed so many people? How can one country provide jobs? How can one country provide clean water, and shelter to maintain basic living standards?

India is very much a rural country. 74% of the popluation still lives in villages or hamlets. (862 million people!) India has 36 cities over one million in population totally 128 million people. Large number of Indians are migrating to these cities looking for a better life. Just imagine 50% of those rural people moving to the cities. You can't.

Oh,one more fact: India's daily increase is 50,000 people!


Siddhartha 4 years ago

Most of the communities in the entire Indian sub-continent(such as Bengali) succumbed in ‘Culture of Poverty'(Oscar Lewis), irrespective of class or economic strata, lives in pavement or apartment. Nobody is genuinely regret ed or ashamed of the deep-rooted corruption, decaying general quality of life, worst Politico-administrative system, bad work place, weak mother language, continuous consumption of common social space (mental as well as physical, both). We are becoming fathers & mothers only by self-procreation, mindlessly & blindfold(supported by some lame excuses). Simply depriving their(the children) fundamental rights of a decent, caring society, fearless & dignified living. Do not ever look for any other positive alternative behaviour(values) to perform human way of parenthood, i.e. deliberately co-parenting children those are born out of ignorance, extreme poverty. It seems that all of us are being driven only by the very animal instinct. If the Bengali people ever be able to bring that genuine freedom (from vicious cycle of ‘poverty’) in their own life/attitude, involve themselves in ‘Production of (social) Space’ (Henri Lefebvre), initiate a movement by heart, an intense attachment with the society at large is very much required - one different pathway has to create, decent & rich Politics will definitely come up. – Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, 16/4, Girish Banerjee Lane, Howrah-711101.


IM 4 years ago

a good writing. but do u think a peson who got education from local laguage medium schools will remain jobless and those from english medium ones will get better jobs?? this can't be true.


MKX 4 years ago

Germany,Italy,UK and France is having Population less than 10 crore then how can they be as Republic Countries.


indian 4 years ago

this is absolutely right


Pronatalist 4 years ago

"Population overgrowth" isn't so bad, just so long as it's people, and not stray neglected pets or deer getting in the way of our cars.

A large human population undergoing exponential growth, as somebody had mentioned, is actually ideal, for more and more people would be glad to come alive and be born. As the number of families prepared to receive children, grows and grows, well obviously then, such a country is becoming more prepared, to welcome babies coming faster and faster, and it's beautiful to welcome human populations everywhere to naturally BLOSSOM in size.

People should never be asked to directly pollute their bodies with nasty unnatural Big Pharma contraception devices and drugs. We are not lab rats for the New World Order criminal elites to experiment upon, and the side effects of contraceptives that they will admit to, are seriously under-reported.

Since God commanded people to Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, that makes God responsible to determine population size, not man, so within God's will and what God apparently allows, from man's perspective, we should have the right to let our families and countries' population sizes, grow naturally, seemingly "unchecked."


Guest 4 years ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, and if this argument has already come up, but surely a huge population would be a good thing, with more people uneducated means that the employment wage will be lower which can be beneficial for the price of goods. The price will be lower which means exports will be cheaper, stimulating or keeping a high level of economic growth. I think India has it right in many respects, they have a large graduate power but also enough people wanting to do the monotonous work too. Britain on the other hand, has a high level of education but the growth is less so because its citizens do not want the jobs that actually keep the economy ticking over and work being done.


ashish 4 years ago

i want to know some point about populationstrength besides village


nilesh vasava 4 years ago

people wake up. If v apply one child policy now,stil v r not going to ctrl population in next 20 years.

In 1991 india accept free trade (remember entry of zee tv? ..and many more multination company becoz of that today v can buy dozens of models of car instead of only maruti and ambassador as be4 1991,dozens of tv channels,many many international brands),and open the gates for world to india and for india to world. Then after v saw rapid growth of india.and this all never becoz of population as sm1 told before here.

We are facing over crowding everywhere. Overcrowded bus,trains,roads,hospitals,schools... The situation going to worse everyday. Wake up yaar. V need govt to apply at least 2 child policy.


ayesha 4 years ago

we are having a debate on this topic. i think population is not a burden to a country


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 4 years ago from New Delhi, India Author

This debate will never end. After reading all the comments from above, there is still no conclusion that are large population a blessing or a curse for a nation.


Vachhani 2 years ago

Please counter number of people in favour of population stabilization and not. If one person has not understood the population stabilization and its benefits, all should leave him alone. Make a guide line and law to achieve population stabilization within next 30 years. This is the only way India can survive as country. Is 1/3 of Indian population living below poverty line not a good example to talk some thing differently? Those who can not, are ape man this world.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working