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Population growth rates have slowed down in Punjab, on the back of declining birth rates and fertility. Slowing birth rates have not only led to population growth rates falling in Punjab over time, the decline has been sharper for the State than at the all India level.

As reported in Economic survey of Punjab 2019, the annual population growth rate in Punjab during the period 2001 to 2011 was 1.4% in comparison to 1.8% at the all India level. However, India and Punjab both had fertility rates of 5.2 in 1971. As of 2017, the rate stands at 2.2 for India and 1.6 for Punjab, falling below of the replacement level fertility rate of 2.1%. At the same time, death rates have also declined, though registering a marginal increase between 2011 and 2017.

These trends have contributed to a demographic shift in Punjab with a consistent increase in the population in the working age group, i.e., between 15 and 64 years of age. This demographic shift raises two concerns.

1)    The presence of a large working age population does not automatically translate into an economic advantage. Instead, skilling and employment opportunities, matching the aspirations of the youth, need to be provided to ensure that the population bulge transforms into a demographic dividend.

2)    With higher population in older age groups, Punjab would have to invest in health care and social security initiatives to cater to the needs of the growing dependent population, apart from the initiatives the state undertakes for welfare of children and disabled. Both these aspects are important, in the face of limited fiscal space.

The Sex ratio in Punjab has improved significantly due to consistent efforts by the State Government. Punjab’s sex ratio rose from 837 in 2005-07 to 886 in 2015-17. In contrast, the national sex ratio declined from 901 in 2005-07 to 896 in 2015-17. In comparison, with other 18 States, Punjab has been the top performer with an improvement of 49 women per thousand. However, Punjab state in spite of the significant improvement in sex ratio, continues to be below the national average.

Migration has been a key characteristic of Punjab’s population & economy with high in-migration from other States with 8th largest share of migrants in the country. As per latest 2011 Census data, over 24 lac people (24,88,299) from states across the country migrated to Punjab i.e.  5.3% of total migrants within India. Majority of these migrants were females, with a share of 55.2%. Most of the in-migrants to the state settled in Ludhiana and SAS Nagar.

Demographic Parameters of Punjab vs India (2011) 

Source: Statistical Abstract of Punjab, 2012

Population of Punjab

Source: Statistical Abstract of Punjab, 2012

Rural vs Urban Population of Punjab (2011)

Source: Statistical Abstract of Punjab, 2012

District Wise Population in Punjab

Source: Statistical Abstract of Punjab, 2012