Population of Nepal as of the census day (June 22, 2011) stands at 26,494,504. The increment of population during the last decade is recorded as 3,343,081 with an annual average growth rate of 1.35 percent.
Current Population Situation and Its Causes, Consequences and Remedies
Current Population Situation
Population situation consists of size, composition, density, distribution and occupational classification of population:
1) Population size, growth and distribution
The population of Nepal as of the census day (June 22, 2011) stands at 26,494,504. The increment of the population during the last decade is recorded as 3,343,081 with an annual average growth rate of 1.35 percent. Terai constitutes 50.27 percent (13,318,705) of the total population while Hill and Mountain constitutes 43 percent (11,394,007) and 6.73 percent (1,781,792) respectively. Among the five development regions, Central development region has the highest population (36.45 percent) and far western region records the lowest (9.63 percent).
2) Sex Ratio
Sex ratio (the number of males per 100 females) at the national level has decreased from 99.8 in 2001 to 94.2 in 2011. In abstract number, there are 796,422 more females than males in the country. Sex ratio is highest (127) in Manang district and lowest (76) in Gulmi district.
3) Population Density
Population density (average number of population per square kilometer) at the national level is 180 compared to 157 in 2001. The highest population density is found in Kathmandu district (4,416 people per square km) and lowest (3 people per square km) in Manang district.
4) Population Growth in Districts
The fastest decadal population growth rate is found in Kathmandu district (61.23 percent) and least in Manang (-31.80 percent). Altogether 27 districts including Manang, Khotang, Mustang, Terhathum, Bhojpur etc. recorded negative population growth rate during the last decade.
Causes of Rapid Population Growth in Nepal
Rapid population growth is one of the common features of developing countries like Nepal. It is regarded as a major problem of a country for economic change. Some of the causes are given below:
Poverty In Nepal, around 25 percent of Nepalese are below the poverty line. They can't afford to eat hygienic food, have no access to regular health checkup. Similarly, 76% people are farmers they require more agro-labour force which is compensated by more birth of the children. Most of the women are unemployed.
Illiteracy Around 34% people are illiterate in Nepal according to the result of population census 2011 AD. Till, masses of people are not aware of the evil consequences of population growth. Among the illiterate, 57.2% are female. Thus, population growth is promoted by the situation of illiteracy of Nepal.
Early marriage It is one of the causes for high population growth. It exists in Nepal due to socio-cultural norms. Parents feel themselves free from the responsibility of their child after marriage. It is also responsible for the high population in Nepal. It is not checked by a legal provision.
Religious and Social Belief It is very strong in rural areas of Nepal. Most of the people believe in God. They feel son as a compulsion and require for rite and rituals. They also believe children are the gift of God. By the reason, people have accelerated the population size.
Growing Internal Migration The size of the population in Nepal has been growing due to the open international migration, practically from India, Bhutan and Tibet. The nation would be unable to control the population growth unless it adopts some measures to stop this type of migration trend in future.
Consequences of Rapid Population Growth in Nepal
Rapid population growth results in various problems in the society. In one hand it supplies the labour force but in other hand, it demands more facilities. It increases the burden in the current stock of resources of the country. People have to face scarcity of goods and services what they required. So, rapid population growth is taken as a great challenge of overall development of a country. It may have following consequences:
Food shortage Rapid population growth results in various problems under the subsistence agriculture, it is impossible to grow more food in comparison to the population growth. Thus, food shortage is one of the adverse effects of the rapid population growth.
Unemployment Another impact of rapid population growth is unemployment. In Nepal, it has been difficult to increase the employment opportunities. However, due to the high population the size of the labour force is increasing, thus resulting in the existence high unemployment.
Growing deforestation One of the principal causes of deforestation is the high population growth rate. Rapid population growth demands more energy and construction materials. Thus, deforestation is one of the principal consequences of high population growth rate.
Unplanned urbanization As population increases, urbanization undergoes expansion. It brings about high pressure on the public facilities like water supply, electricity, communication and transportation.
Poverty As population increases the responsibility to feed and reside the increase population goes up due to which increases fragmentations of land. Increased fragmentation decreases the productivity of land and income level of people goes down. As income level goes down people became poor and poverty level increases.
Low per-capita income Increase in the population decreases the share of national income in the society. So that per capita income decreases. Decreases in per capita income decreases living standard of people.
Remedies to Control Population Growth
Due to the various adverse consequences, it has become urgently necessary to check the high rate of population growth of Nepal. Therefore, the following measures should be taken to check rapid population growth of Nepal.
Education Most of the people in the rural area of Nepal do not know about the causes and consequences of high population growth. Even if some of them have realized negative effects of high population growth, still they have very limited information about the remedial measures. So, educating people is the most important solution to the problem of high population growth. With the help of proper education, people become familiar with the likely consequences of high population growth.
Social reform Social reform like early marriage and polygamy should be effectively removed. The mere legislation is not adequate. Law, against the early marriage and polygamy, should be strictly enforced. Therefore, they need motivation through social reform, religious reform and population education.
Religious movement It should be encouraged to eradicate wrong religious beliefs, especially to convince people that a son is not an indispensable necessity and children are not gifts of God. Fatalism should be eliminated to make people believe that they can improve them a lot by their own endeavors and birth control is an effective means.
Women empowerment The birth rate can be reduced by expanding employment opportunities for women. It has been proved that working women prefer to have fewer children. They consider pregnancy to be an irritation and endeavor to prevent it.
Extension of family planning services Family planning devices should be made easily available and accessible. Programs should be launched effectively and widespread around the country.
Health cares facilities People feel insecure and give birth to more children due to high child death rate, which is one of the prominent reasons behind high population growth.