History Of Population Growth

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The first human ancestor appeared between 5 million and 7 million years ago, probably when some ape-like creatures in Africa began to walk habitually on two legs. They were faking crude stone tools by 2.5 million years ago. Then some of them spread from Africa into Asia and Europe two years ago (Wilford, 2012). With the passage of time, the number of people started increasing and they also got interested in raising children. Eventually, the practice of having children without any protection has led to a drastic increase in population. Bhutan, one of the last Shangri-La on earth is a landlocked country surrounded by rich biodiversity which also embodies rich cultural heritage, traditions, and many more. After the development of the 5-year plan, many people from Nepal and India migrated to the southern regions of Bhutan who are now known as the lhotsampas. Adding to the population, the eastern people of Bhutan popularly known as the sharchokpas are originally from the Assam Himalaya. The Nepalese of southern Bhutan and the Lepchas of western Bhutan came later, in the nineteenth century (P. Karma, 2013). Bhutan in relation to the population growth is basically the increase in the number of men, women, and children living in a geographical boundary in a particular period of time. Population growth mainly depends on the dynamics of a population that is fertility, mortality, and migration which includes immigration and emigration (Oxford Dictionary, 2002). In some countries, such as China, population growth also depends upon government restrictions in which people are allowed to have only a certain number of children like the ‘one-child policy.’ The population growth rate of the world changes every year, likewise in the context of Bhutan, the growth rate has been increasing and decreasing constantly. For example, in 2015 the growth rate was 1.4% but in 2017 it was 1.2% which is a total contrast to the population growth of Bhutan in 1990 that is 2% (PHCB, 2018). The change in population growth in the history of Bhutan is mainly brought up by cultural values, social and economic factors.

Prior to the introduction of Tibetan Buddhism in the 9th century, the turmoil in Tibet forced many monks to flee to Bhutan that is why it is said that the people of Bhutan actually originated from the eastern part of Tibet. And also before the closing of the border between Bhutan and Tibet in 1959, there used to be a fair trade and barter system that attracted lots of Tibetans to our country. Hence increasing the population growth in our country (Wikipedia). In past years since Bhutan was isolated from the outside world, it lacked in various developmental and modern fields however they were kept connected with a strong culture and believes. According to the olden beliefs, it was a sin to stop the production of babies as children were considered as god’s gift. In addition, there was a trend of Bhutanese men getting married to more than one wife which ultimately leads to producing more children. Moreover, there is also a large number of illegitimate children resulting in to increase in population. Not only that the culture of early marriage was very prominent in those olden days. According to the religious belief of Bhutan, people who are sterile and who wants to have a daughter or a son, in particular, go to visit some of the prestigious temples to receive the blessing of having their desired children. There are temples known as chimi Lhakhang, richen Lhakhang, and some others where people are blessed with the child and hence alters the population growth. However, with the change in time, the people had become more socialized and scientific where they no longer have those beliefs. Hence, some of the cultures are no longer practiced which leads to the change in population growth.

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In addition, health facilities and services provided to the people regarding health issues are one of the important indicators that change the population growth. Health-related issues like keeping the surroundings clean, washing our hands every time, taking baths frequently, eating healthy foods play a major role in keeping away from diseases, and hence attaining mortality from a younger age. In the olden day’s majority of the people being uneducated kept themselves unhygienic, therefore some died without the notice of any particular diseases. While some even if they went to the hospital or BHU due to poor health facilities and less specialized doctors, they were not able to save most people. Thus, decreasing the population rate. Moreover, back then Bhutan had a limited number of educational facilities and therefore many people were left uneducated. So, many of them did not have any knowledge about population growth and its effect. They were also not educated regarding family planning, birth control and due to the unavailability of various contraceptive methods, it greatly affected the rate of population. On the other hand, as the country develops into a bigger nation, urbanization keeps taking place giving the people who do not want to have children the chance to practice safe sex and use contraceptive methods. The people are given the knowledge based on the awareness given through Social media and by learning through the curriculum of the education system. The women nowadays also want to have an independent life where they want to have a job and stand on their own feet without depending on their husband so, since having a job can lead a busy life, they aim to have fewer children as more children can be hectic for the couples.

Lastly, producing more children can make the economic strength of the family much stronger because there will be more labor working for the family as back then agriculture was the main backbone for their survival and so people gave birth to more children. Also, Bhutan was not modernized and there was less budget for developmental activities, so fewer people were employed with less income where the raising of children becomes cumbersome for them. With the pace of time as the country develops new laws were introduced such as the prohibition of child labor where children were not allowed to work instead educating them was a must. However, as the country develops the education system becomes more expensive with the standard needs of the students even though education is free in Bhutan. The increase in the living standard of the people also made the couple have fewer children as it was considered more of a burden rather than a helping hand to the family (Asha & Tara, 2008). The needs and wants of the people in accordance with the society also make the people get employment overseas and seek permanent residence thus, decreasing the population in Bhutan.

In a nutshell, population changes with the change in the development of the country. Due to the lack of knowledge of our ancestors and forefathers, education and school were never a choice during that period of time, and therefore, people kept on giving birth as they were not given the basic knowledge on how it drastically affects the population rate. Also as Bhutan was isolated from the outside world there was a lack of health, education, transportation, and other facilities, people were not aware of family planning, contraceptives, and other birth control methods which contribute to increasing the population whereas people who were unhygienic suffered from various diseases which made population decrease. So, the cultural norms, social and economic factors play a major role in altering the fertility and mortality rate, thus changing the population over time in the history of Bhutan.


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