State of World Population-2019: UNFPA | 11 Apr 2019

According to State of World Population-2019 report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), India’s population grew at an average of 1.2% annually between 2010 and 2019 which is more than double the annual growth rate of China.

  • The release of report also marks 50 years of the UNFPA being established to support countries to bring down fertility levels.
  • It also marks 25 years of International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994, where 179 governments agreed on a rights-based approach to sexual and reproductive health to address population growth.
    • Reproductive health can be defined as a state of well-being related to one’s sexual and reproductive life. It implies, “that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so”.


  • The world’s population rose to 7.715 billion in 2019, up from 7.633 billion in 2018, with the global average life expectancy of 72 years.
  • The least developed countries recorded the highest population growth, with countries in Africa registering an average of 2.7% a year.
  • Much of the overall increase in global population till 2050 is projected to occur in high fertility countries, mostly in Africa, or in countries with large populations, such as Nigeria and India.
  • India’s population grew at 1.2% a year between 2010 and 2019, marginally higher than the global average of 1.1% a year in this period.
  • Around half of India’s population in 24 states have achieved the replacement fertility rates of 2.1 children per women, which is the desired family size when the population stops growing.
    • However, the country’s large youth population will continue to fuel population growth even as the size of the ageing population increases.
    • Replacement level rate is the average number of children born per woman—at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, without migration. This rate is roughly 2.1 children per woman for most countries, although it may vary with mortality rates.
    • In India, the total fertility rate per woman declined from 5.6 in 1969 to 3.7 in 1994 and 2.3 in 2019.
  • As of 2019, India’s population stood at 1.36 billion, growing from 942.2 million in 1994 and 541.5 million in 1969.
  • 27% of India’s population was in the age bracket of 0-14 years and 10-24 years, while 67% of the country’s population was in the 15-64 age bracket. 6% of the country’s population was of the age 65 and above.
  • India registered an improvement in life expectancy at birth. The life expectancy at birth in 1969 was 47 years, growing to 60 years in 1994 and 69 years in 2019.
  • The findings on women aged between 15-49 years were published for the first time as part of United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) State of World Population 2019 report. It includes data on women’s ability to make decisions over three key areas:
    • Sexual intercourse with their partner,
    • Contraception use and
    • Health care.
  • According to the analysis, the absence of reproductive and sexual rights has major and negative repercussions on women’s education, income and safety, leaving them “unable to shape their own futures”.
  • Early marriage continues to remain an obstacle to female empowerment and better reproductive rights.
  • The report highlights the threat to women’s and girls’ reproductive rights posed by emergencies caused by conflict or climate disasters.

United Nations Population Fund 

  • UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. It was established as a trust fund in 1967 and began operations in 1969.
  • In 1987, it was officially renamed the United Nations Population Fund. However, the original abbreviation, UNFPA (United Nations Fund for Population Activities), was retained.
  • The mandate of UNFPA is established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
  • UNFPA is a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly.
  • UNFPA is entirely supported by voluntary contributions of donor governments, intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, and foundations and individuals, NOT by the United Nations regular budget.
  • UNFPA works directly to tackle Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health, Goal 4 on education and Goal 5 on gender equality.