Demographic Structure - Test Papers

 CBSE Class-12 Sociology Test Paper-01

Part-1(Ch-02 Demographic structure of Indian society)

General Instruction:

  • Question 1-5 carries two marks each
  • Question 6-8 carries four marks each
  • Question 9-10 carries six marks each.

  1. Define the term demography.
  2. What do higher rates of infant and maternal mortality indicate?
  3. What do you mean by ageing of the population?
  4. Why had the birth rate not registered a sharp fall unlike the death rate?
  5. What is dependency ratio?
  6. Why is demographic data important?
  7. A rising dependency ratio is a cause for worry and a falling dependency ratio can be a source of economic growth and prosperity. Explain.
  8. What are the several factors responsible for the decline in the child sex ratio?
  9. Malthusian theory of population growth.
  10. How does the changing age structure offer a ‘demographic dividend’ for India?

CBSE Class-12 Sociology Test Paper-01
Part-1(Ch-02 Demographic structure of Indian society)

  1. Demography is the systematic study of population. The term is of Greek origin and is composed of the two words, demos (people) and graphein (describe), implying the description of people.
  2. High rates of infant and maternal mortality are an unambiguous indicator of backwardness and poverty; development is accompanied by sharp falls in these rates as medical facilities and levels of education, awareness and prosperity increase.
  3. The ageing of the population can be referred to as the changes in the age structure of the population with development. Relatively smaller proportions of the population are found in the younger age groups and larger proportions in the older age groups. 
  4. Unlike the death rate, the birth rate had not registered a sharp fall. This is because the birth rate is a socio-cultural phenomenon that is relatively slow to change. Once infant mortality rates decline, and there is an overall increase in levels of education and awareness, family size begins to fall. 
  5. The dependency ratio is a measure comparing the portion of a population which is composed of dependents (i.e., elderly people who are too old to work, and children who are too young to work) with the portion that is in the working age group, generally defined as 15 to 64 years.  
  6. Demographic data are important for the following reasons:
    1. The planning and implementation of state policies, especially those for economic development and general public welfare.
    2. Aggregate statistics – or the numerical characteristics that refer to a large collectivity consisting of millions of people – offer a concrete and strong argument for the existence of social phenomena. 
    3. Even though country-level or state-level statistics like the number of deaths per 1,000 populations – or the death rate – are made up by aggregating (or adding up) individual deaths.
    4. The death rate itself is a social phenomenon and must be explained at the social level.
  7. A rising dependency ratio is a cause for worry in countries that are facing an ageing population, since it becomes difficult for a relatively smaller proportion of working-age people to carry the burden of providing for a relatively larger proportion of dependents.
    On the other hand, a falling dependency ratio can be a source of economic growth and prosperity due to the larger proportion of workers relative to non-workers. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘demographic dividend’, or benefit flowing from the changing age structure.  However, this benefit is temporary because the larger pool of working age people will eventually turn into non-working old people.
  8. Several factors may be held responsible for the decline in the child sex ratio:
    1. Severe neglect of girl babies in infancy, leading to higher death rates;
    2. Sex specific abortions that prevent girl babies from being born;
    3. Female infanticide (or the killing of girl babies due to religious or cultural beliefs). 
    4. Practices of female infanticide have been known to exist in many regions.
    5. The use of modern medical techniques like sonogram originally developed to identify genetic or other disorders in the foetus may be used to identify and selectively abort female foetuses.
      Each of these reasons point to a serious social problem, and there is some evidence that all of these have been at work in India.
  9. Malthusian theory of population growth was outlined by Thomas Robert Malthus in his Essay on Population. His theory was a rather pessimistic one.
    Malthus argued that human populations tend to grow at a much faster rate than the rate at which the means of human subsistence (especially food, but also clothing and other agriculture-based products) can grow. The growth of agricultural production will always be overtaken by population growth and thus, humanity is condemned to live in poverty forever.
    While population rises in geometric progression (i.e., like 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 etc.), agricultural production can only grow in arithmetic progression (i.e., like 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 etc.). It is important to control population growth if humanity aims to increase prosperity.
    Unfortunately, it has only a limited ability to voluntarily reduce the growth of its population (through ‘preventive checks’ such as postponing marriage or practicing sexual abstinence or celibacy).
    Malthus believed therefore that ‘positive checks’ to population growth – in the form of famines and diseases – were inevitable because they were nature’s way of dealing with the imbalance between food supply and increasing population.
    Malthus’s theory though influential for a long time was challenged by theorists who claimed that economic growth could outstrip population growth.
    The most effective refutation of his theory was provided by the historical experience of European countries. The pattern of population growth began to change in the latter half of nineteenth century, and by the end of the first quarter of the twentieth century these changes were quite dramatic. 
    Birth rates had declined, and outbreaks of epidemic diseases were being controlled. Malthus’s predictions were proved false because both food production and standards of living continued to rise despite the rapid growth of population.
    Malthus was also criticised by liberal and Marxist scholars for asserting that poverty was caused by population growth.  The critics argued that problems like poverty and starvation were caused by the unequal distribution of economic resources rather than by population growth. An unjust social system allowed a wealthy and privileged minority to live in luxury while the vast majority of the people were forced to live in poverty.
  10. The demographic advantage or ‘dividend’ to be derived from the age structure of the population is due to the fact that India is (and will remain for some time) one of the youngest countries in the world.
    A third of India’s population was below 15 years of age in 2000.  In 2020, the average Indian will be only 29 years old, compared with an average age of 37 in China and the United States, 45 in Western Europe, and 48 in Japan. This implies a large and growing labour force, which can deliver unexpected benefits in terms of growth and prosperity.
    The ‘demographic dividend’ results from an increase in the proportion of workers relative to non-workers in the population.  In India, changes in the age structure due to the demographic transition had lowered the ‘dependency ratio’, or the ratio of non-working age to working-age population, thus creating the potential for generating growth.
    This potential can be converted into actual growth, if the rise in the working age group is accompanied by increasing levels of education and employment.
    India is indeed facing a window of opportunity created by the demographic dividend. The effect of demographic trends on the dependency ratio defined in terms of age groups is quite visible. Thus, strategies need to be developed to exploit the demographic window of opportunity that India has today. But India’s recent experience suggests that market forces by themselves do not ensure that such strategies would be implemented. Unless a way forward is found, we may miss out on the potential benefits that the country’s changing age structure temporarily offers.