WASHINGTON: Agricultural population of India grew by a whopping 50 percent between 1980 and 2011, the highest for any country during this period, followed by China with 33 per cent, while that of the United States dropped by 37 percent as a result of large scale mechanisation, a latest report has said.
"The economically active agricultural population of the United States, on the other hand, declined by 37 percent as a result of large-scale mechanisation, improved crop varieties, fertilisers, pesticides, and federal subsidies--all of which contributed to economies of scale and consolidation in U.S. agriculture," it said.
The global agricultural population--defined as individuals dependent on agriculture, hunting, fishing, and forestry for their livelihood--accounted for over 37 percent of the world's population in 2011, the most recent year for which data are available.This is a decrease of 12 percent from 1980, when the world's agricultural and nonagricultural populations were roughly the same size.
Although the agricultural population shrunk as a share of total population between 1980 and 2011, it grew numerically from 2.2 billion to 2.6 billion people during this period, writes Worldwatch Senior Fellow Sophie Wenzlau in the Institute's latest Vital Signs Online trend.
According to the report, between 1980 and 2011, Africa's agricultural population grew by 63 percent, and its nonagricultural population grew by 221 percent.
Oceania's agricultural population grew by 49 percent, and its nonagricultural population grew by 65 percent.
Asia's agricultural population grew by 20 percent, and its nonagricultural population grew by 134 percent, it said.
The combination of movement to cities and agricultural consolidation caused agricultural populations to decline in Europe and the Americas between 1980 and 2011: by 66 percent in Europe, 45 percent in North America, 35 percent in South America, 13 per cent in Central America, and 7 percent in the Caribbean, the report added.