Population and Education

The number of human races varies according to the purpose of classification. It is notscientifically accurate to divide the human races into just three groups-Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid. Today many geographical races are recognized and even more local races. The principal geographical races are:

1) African or Negroid: This group of human races consists of a collection of races originating south of the Sahara. Members have curly or tightly coiled hair, thick lips, and large amounts of melanin in their skin, hair, and gums. The worldwide population is approximately 600 million.

2) American Indians or Amerindians: This race belongs to the Asian geographical race but differs in various blood group frequencies. For thousands of years Amerindians were the only people in the Western Hemisphere. Their skin varies from dark to light brown, and they have straight dark hair.

3) Asian or Mongoloid: Asians are group of peoples in all the continental Asia and middle East, extending to Japan, the Philippines and most of Indonesia. Members have straight hair, inner eyefolds, and pads of fat over their cheek bones. They are light in skin color and are shorter than Caucasians. The population is about 1.5 billion.

4) Australian or Australoid: This race is very distinct and the members have large teeth, moderate to heavy skin coloring, narrow skulls, and moderate amount of body hair.

5) European or Caucasoid: Populations of Europe, the Middle East, Africa north of the Sahara and Americas. They have lighter skins than the members from other geographical races, though in the southern areas they may have dark skins. The population is about 1.5 billion.

6) Indian: Indian race includes people of the Indian Continent, and extends from Himalayas to the Indian Ocean and from Afghanistan to Myanmar. Skin color ranges from light in the north to dark in the south. The population is about 1.3 billion.

7) Micronesian: Micronesians occupy a series of Pacific Islands, including the Gilberts. These people are dark-skinned and small, with wavy or wooly hair.

8) Polynesian: Polynesians are a group of peoples living from New Zealand to Hawaii. These people
are tall and stout with light to moderate skin color.

According to widely used estimates global population that was one billion in the middle of nineteenth century increased to two billion around 1918, to four billion in 1974, to five billion in 1987, to six billion in late nineties and is expected to increase to eight billion by 2025.

In 1991, approximately 70 population and environment organizations in the US signed a "priority statement on population" that suggested that all nations including the US must make population control a priority. In New Delhi in 1993, scientists from 58 national academies called for zero population growth within the lifetime of their children.

Contraception contributes greatly to the health and welfare of women and hence of the society, by allowing control over timing and spacing of births. Birth control emerged as a movement in the Indian Union after independence from the British in 1947. While in the US, it emerged as a ‘radical movement" led by socialists and feminists in early twentieth century and became "population control" by 1940s. Twenty-six states in the US passed compulsory sterilization laws. Thousands of poor
people, especially blacks, were prevented from reproducing.

Similar incidents happened during emergency in the Indian Union in late seventies and also recently. In Lingareddipalli village in Andhra Pradesh people were coerced to undergo sterilization by preventing them form harvesting the crops until they were sterilized. Mass sterilizations in India are preformed under very unhygienic and inhumane conditions, e.g., in a sterilization camp in Rajasthan an ordinary bicycle pump was used to pump air into women’s bodies and several women died at this camp. A survey in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh by British Overseas Development Administration found that some women did not recover from post-operative side-effects even three years after the operation. However, overall impact of family planning should be considered positive.

Among the developing countries, the Indian Union is the first country to introduce birth control programs. If we consider the history of population growth in the world, Western countries during their developing stage of approximately three hundred years grew seven times, due to the reduction in death rate. Improvement in hygiene, potable water, transport facilities, medical facilities are largely responsible for this reduction in death rate.

Malthusianism seeks to address the global crisis and provide solutions as articulated by Thomas Malthus in 1798. According to this doctrine the human population growth is responsible for all major social problems and the population control is the only solution to solve these problems. Malthus wrote in his "Essay on the principle of Population" that population increased geometrically while the food supply increased only arithmetically, thus resulting in overpopulation leading to resource depletion, poverty and social unrest. He suggested celibacy and late marriages as preventive checks. He proposed his theory during the "mortality revolution" in Europe caused by improvements in life standards due to progress in medicine and hygiene. The same improvements in the developing countries were very rapid because of imports from western countries. Western countries achieved a 50% reduction in death rate in about hundred years. However, the developing countries achieved the same reduction in about 10 years. This has a dramatic impact on the population growth in the developing countries.

In Andhra Pradesh birth control and family welfare programs were initiated in 1957. Though Andhra Pradesh started late, the state has achieved considerable progress in a short time. By the year 1993-94, the total steriliaztions in the state were 8,900,000. About 5.8 million couples controlled their productivity by sterilization and about 3 million used other techniques to prevent conception. In the past ten years the usage of sterilization and contraception tremendously increased. Andhra Pradesh is third lowest (2.4%) in birth rate trailing behind Kerala (1.75%) and Tamilnadu (2.07%). Each woman in Andhra Pradesh has 3 kids, while in Kerala 1.8 kids/woman, and in Tamilnadu 2.2 kids/woman. Recently, the number of young couples resorting to the temporary contraception has significantly increased.

The family planning programs in Andhra Pradesh do not show the same effect in all districts and regions. The results vary from district to district. Districts like Guntur, Krishna, East Godavari and West Godavari have achieved lowest birth rate, while districts like Mahaboob Nagar, Medak, Adilabad etc., are lagging far behind. There is no universal plan that suits every district in the state. Each district has to tailor its programs according to its cultural, religious and economic backgrounds. The same holds true to the Indian Union. One prescription to all states and nationalities is not practical, for example in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar each woman has more than five (5) kids compared to lower numbers for Kerala (see above).

It is very important to stabilize the population in the whole world. However, we should recognize that population is a great resource. It is important to educate the population and make each person a productive member of the society. The states like Kerala, Tamilnadu and Andhra have done a laudable job in containing the birth rate and are certain to stabilize their population soon. If the population is educated, the economic productivity of the state increases while the population growth automatically decreases. Therefore, in addition to family planning programs to stabilize the population, programs for the education of the population to achieve one hundred percent literacy should be the top priority item. The literacy movement in Andhra Pradesh did not achieve commendable results. The current literacy growth rate would not ensure 100% literacy even after a hundred years. There is a lot to learn from the experience of states like Russia, Burma, Cuba, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Kerala etc. that achieved complete literacy in a short time. Let us hope Andhra Pradesh will soon become fully literate with a stable population.


1.Manorama Year Book
2.The Universal Almanac
3.Andhra Pradesh Darshini
4.Population of the World, Using and Understanding Maps, Ed. Scot E. Morris
5.Women, population and Global Crisis, Asoka Bandarage

By Sreenivasarao Vepachedu on Friday, July 09, 1999 - 04:28 am