Human Aspects: Quantitative, Qualitative and Temporal Characteristics of Population in Himachal Pradesh – HPAS Mains

By | November 22, 2021

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: Himachal Pradesh came into being on 15th April 1948 as a centrally administered territory by the integration of 30 erstwhile princely states of Shimla. The state was having four districts at that time namely Chamba, Mandi, Mahasu, and Sirmour with a total area of 25,839 sq. km. It got full-fledged statehood on 25th Jan 1972 and came out to be the 18th state of independent India.

POPULATION: Present HP has an area of 55,673sq km. As per the 2011 census, the state is having a total population of 68, 64,602 with a population density of 123.  Number of females per thousand males is 972. The decennial growth rate is 12.9% during 2001-2011. Since the people are both the producers as well as the consumers they are the very important component of a country. A large population invariably puts pressure on limited recourses and is responsible for the various socio-economic problems in the country.

Study of the population under its different characteristic indicators


The various indicators under quantitative characteristics of population include:

DISTRIBUTION AND POPULATION DENSITY: It is generally said that the population map of India follows its rainfall map. The uneven distribution of population in the state of HP is based upon its physical and socio-economic factors.

  • PHYSICAL FACTORS includes relief, climate, and the availability of chief recourse
  • SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND HISTORICAL FACTORS: evolution of settled agriculture and agricultural development, the pattern of human settlement, development of transport network, industrialization and urbanization, etc.

Population density is a better measure of understanding the distribution variation of a population. It is expressed as the number of person per unit area. Among districts, the highest density is in HAMIRPUR with 407 and lowest in LAHAUL- SPITI with 2 only. The spatial distribution of population density is classified into the following categories;

  1. AREAS OF EXTREMELY LOW DENSITY: Areas having 100 persons per sq. kms. and less than that. They are Chamba (80), Kullu (80), Kinnaur (13), and Lahaul-spiti (2).
  2. AREAS OF LOW DENSITY: Areas having population density of 101 to 250 includes districts like Shimla (159) and Sirmaur (188). Himachal Pradesh (123) itself as a state falls in this categories of population density.
  3. AREAS OF MODERATE DENSITY: These are areas with population density of 251-500. The districts are Bilaspur (327), Hamirpur (407), Kangra (263), Mandi (253), Solan (300) and Una (338).

AREA AND POPULATION: Since 1951 there has been approx. three times increase in the overall population of the state. In the year 1951, the total population was 23, 85,981 which recorded 5.42% decennial growth rate from the previous year, Population density was 43, number of females over male 912. According to 2011 census, total population is 6864602 with 12.94 of population growth to the previous year.

GROWTH RATE: Since growth itself is a quantitative indicator it shows the change in number of people living in a particular area between two given point of time. The net change is described as the growth rate of the population. It can be positive, negative and neutral as well depending upon the change in birth, death and migration rate. Since the period of 2001 to 2011 all the districts of HP have shown approximate growth rate of 12-15% except the district of lahual-spiti with negative growth rate of -5.00. The maximum growth rate has shown by una i.e. 16.26%.


There are various indicators which unlike the quantitative indicators, measures the quality of the growing population in terms of sex ratio, literacy, life expectancy, crude birth rate, total fertility rate, infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate etc. These are the key indicators of developing population. Although the state’s performance in these indicators is always among the top five states still there are miles to go to come out as the holistically developed state.

SEX RATIO: Sex ratio is defined as the ratio of females per thousand of males. The state is performing very well with sex ratio of 972 as against the national average of 943 as per 2011 census. Districts wise data of sex ratio is as follows:  the lowest in ranks are Kinnaur (819), solan (880) and Lahaul Spiti (903) whereas the highest in ranks are Hamirpur (1095), Kangra (1012) and Mandi (1007).

LITERACY RATE: Literacy in India is a key to socio-economic progress. Many efforts were made to pull it from the level of 12% at the time of independence to 77% still there is a lag from the world average. About the state of Himachal Pradesh, there has been a tremendous growth in literacy rate since independence which was only 7.98% to 82.88% of that, male literacy stand at 89.53% while female is at 75.93% as per 2011 census, which is 3rd highest among all the states of India. Among district-wise top districts are Hamirpur (88.15%), Una (86.53) and the lowest being Chamba (72.17%) and Lahaul-Spiti (76.81%).

LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH: This is an important health indicator which tells the number of years a person (male or female) would live after birth. With the improvements in health and sanitation services, life expectancy at birth in India has witnessed significantly increase over the last four decades. Talking about the states, Himachal was having the life expectancy of 64.9 during 1993-97 as per the report published by the Reserve Bank of India. The average life expectancy of HP during 2011-15 was recorded 72.0 higher than the national average of 68.3 (RBI publication).

CRUDE BIRTH RATE (CBR): It is the ratio of number of live births in a year per thousand of midyear population. This is the simplest and most widely used measure of human fertility. With the success in controlling the birth rate, CBR nationally has fallen from 49.2% in 1901-11 to 21.8 in 2001-11. For the state of Himachal, CBR is 15.7 per 1000 inhabitants as per 2018.

TOTAL FERTILITY RATE (TFR): It is the number of children born to a woman during her entire reproductive age. The TFR of Himachal is only 1.7 as against 2.7 of India. According to the HP YOUTH REPORT-2018  there has been seen an encouraging trend about significant improvement in sex ratio but a declining TFR in urban areas among women which is a cause of concern. Various govt initiatives like incentives for institutional deliveries, direct benefit transfer to the account of mother for nutritional requirement of the child etc. has helped the state to lower the level of TFR

INFANT MORTALITY RATE: it refers to the death rate among infants and is calculated for connoting mortality among children of less than one year of age. Or, IMR is the ratio between numbers of deaths among children under one year of age to the number of live births. Infant mortality rate of HP is 35 as against 44 of India. IMR of hp is planned to bring it down to <10 by 2030 as per the Sustainable development target goals.

MATERNAL MORTALITY RATE: It is the health indicator of women during and pregnancy and deliveries. As per the sustainable development goal, the target is to reduce the MMR to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030. MMR in India was 167 per 100,000 live births in 2015. It is not possible to calculate MMR in HP due to low denominator (< 1lakh birth per year) and the reported 63 maternal death is absolute number in 2015-16. Key targets of HP in this regards is to reduce the total number of maternal death from 63 to <25 by 2030 and to ensure 90% institutional births by 2020 and 100% by 2024.

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT: we refer to growth and development to study the change over a period of time. However, there is a difference in both term. Where GROWTH is quantitative, on the other hand, DEVELOPMENT is a qualitative change which is always positive. It means that development cannot occur unless there is a change in the already existing conditions. The concept of human development was put forward by two great economics of Asia Nobel laureate Dr. Amartya Sen and Dr. Mahbul-ul-haq. Dr. Mahbul-ul-haq created the Human Development Index (HDI) in 1990. According to him, development is all about enlarging people’s choices in order to lead long and healthy life with dignity. It is estimated by evaluating four indicators of EQUITY, SUSTAINABILITY, PRODUCTIVITY, AND EMPOWERMENT.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDG) INDIA INDEX: NITI AYOGE came up with the document of SDG for Indian states. The 2nd rank of HP among the others tells the evolutionary process of the state. With this HP is among the 12 states and UTs belonging to the category of front-runners (scores in the range of 65-99). The index evaluates the states on the social, economic and environmental criteria.


The average population growth rate of 12.81% during 2001-11 does not give true picture as there are differences in the growth rate with reference to space and time. These are called Spatio-temporal variations in population growth. There can be different reasons for the difference in the growth rate in a different regions of the state. E.g. Hamirpur district in the state has the densest population due to its small size, education hub etc. whereas district like Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur has sparse population due to its geographical factors.

At the tehsil level, growth rate varied between -21.99% in Lahaul tehsil of Lahaul-Spiti and 25.27% in sainj tehsil of Kullu district. There are 20 tehsils and sub-tehsils in the state, where the decadal growth rate of population was very high covering parts of Sirmaur and Shimla district, in the view of increase in the fertility rate or a sharp decline in the death rate. There is also a cluster having very low growth rate, following rapid growth of literacy, these areas have experienced out-migration in search of job opportunities outside the state. In four tehsils viz. UDAIPUR, LAHAUL, HOLI AND POOH, there was actual decline of population range varying between -21.99% in Lahaul tehsil and -0.82% in pooh tehsil, due to difficult life conditions and thus the propensity to out-migrate must be very high among the inhabitants of these areas. The relative higher decadal growth rate in the Sirmaur, Shimla and solan districts are attributed to ongoing developmental activities in these areas. There is another cluster where growth rate is lower than the state average, i.e. Mandi, Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Kangra which is the product of out-migration from rural to urban areas.

Read also: 

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  2. What is Polyandry? – Himachal Pradesh General Studies
  3. Beth, Begar and Reet System in Himachal Pradesh – HPAS Mains
  4. Reet/Rit System in Himachal Pradesh – HPAS Mains
  5. Beth System in Himachal Pradesh – HPAS Mains

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