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Human Development

Comparing Population Pyramids of India and China

Comparing Population Pyramids of India and China

Tag: GS 2  | | Governance & Social Justice | | Human Development | | Population


  • Population pyramids that show the age and sex distribution of any country and help us to understand how demographic transition plays out medium-term economic prospects.

How we can study the pyramid:

  • Generally, males are shown on the left-hand side and female on the right.
  • Also, the convention is that age distribution is done in cohorts of five years.
  • The pyramid shape changes over time due to birth, deaths and net migration.

  • Currently, China’s population growth rate is only 0.39%, while India is growing at 1.11%.
  • In-country like japan, low birth rate makes the pyramid narrows at the base, decrease death rates allows peoples to reach old age. So we can say that young peoples are the future of the nation.

Relation of population pyramid with Economic growth:

  • If we take the age group india currently has around 650 million peoples and china has 830 million.
  • By 2040, india is likely to reach 900 million whaeras china will have 730 million.
  • An increase in the working-age population, on the other hand, contributes to higher economic growth.
  • An aging population is deflationary in nature though improves the current account balance. While the declining age dependency ratio offers a demographic dividend for India, the realization of the same would require an environment empowering the labour force with the right skills and enabling their gainful employment in productive uses.

Implications :

  • The Indian state has to invest more, and efficiently in human capital and infrastructure.
  • For India, investments in health and sanitation have to be sustained and more PPP models such as vouchers and charter schools in basic education have to be explored so that tax outlays result in higher economies.


  • India’s population for the age cohorts of 0-4, 5-9, 10-14, and 15-19 is roughly equal whereas the numbers for older groups become progressively smaller.
  • On the other hand, China’s largest cohort is in its late 40s although it is more gender-balanced than its younger cohorts suggestings that sex selective abortions are likely to have taken off in the last few decades.

Advantage of young population:

  • Better economic growth
  • Increased labour force
  • Increased fiscal space
  • Rise in women workforce
  • Increase in saving rate
  • A massive shift towards a middle-class society that is the rise of aspirational class.

Way forward:

  • Building human capital: Investing more and more efficiently in people will enable India to tap into its demographic dividend, and prepare the country for the future. Human capital is now the fastest-growing component of India’s wealth. More developed and richer countries have vastly more human capital wealth than developing countries.
  • Education: High-quality education is one of the strongest ways for countries to reduce poverty, achieve gender equality, and create more jobs. New technology could be exploited to accelerate the pace of building human capital, including massive open online courses and virtual classrooms.
  • Health: Women’s access to these services is indirectly related to the demographic opportunity. If women do not have access to good health services and have a higher number of children, they might not join the workforce, reducing 50 percent of the population from the workforce. The focus of the country should be on providing good sexual and reproductive health services to women to meet family planning needs, and access to contraceptives.
  • Job creation: the rise in women’s workforce that naturally accompanies a decline in fertility, and which can be a new source of growth.
  • Partnerships of the Future: there is also the solution of countries with demographic dividend and demographic deficit coming together to partner with each other. The recent case of Japan and India cooperating on the economic front has to be seen in this context. Since India has more youth and Japan has the capital and the expertise but not enough youth, this partnership can be a win-win situation for both wherein Japan invests in India and the latter creates jobs for Japanese companies to grow and prosper.