Human Characteristics – Population, Census, Population Growth. Density and Distribution. Birth rate, Mortality rate, Infant Mortality rate, Migration, Literacy

Census of India : Economic and Social features

Rural and urban population

Altogether, 833.5 million persons live in rural area as per Census 2011, which was more than two-third of the total population, while 377.1 million persons live in urban areas. Urban proportion has gone up from 17.3 per cent in 1951 to 31.2 per cent in 2011. Empowered Action Group (EAG) states have lower urban proportion (21.1 per cent) in comparison to non-EAG states (39.7 per cent). Highest proportion of urban population is in NCT Delhi (97.5 per cent). Top five states in share of urban population are Goa (62.2 per cent), Mizoram (52.1 per cent), Tamil Nadu (48.4 per cent), Kerala (47.7 per cent) and Maharashtra (45.2 per cent).

Sex ratio

The sex ratio of population in the country in 2011 stands at 940 female against 1000 males, which is 10 per cent more than the last census when the number female per thousand male stood at 933. Haryana has the dubious distinction of having the worst male-female ratio among all states while Kerala fares the best. The number of females per 1000 males in Haryana in 2011 stands at 879 followed by Jammu and Kashmir (889 female) and Punjab (895 females).

The other two worst-performing states in terms of skewed sex ration are Uttar Pradesh (912 females) and Bihar (918 females). Five top performing states in terms of sex ratio were Kerala (1,084 females), Tamil Nadu (996), Andhra Pradesh (993), Chhattisgarh (991), Odisha (979).

SC/ST data

According to the Census, Scheduled Castes are notified in 31 states and UTs and Scheduled Tribes in 30 states. There are altogether 1,241 individual ethnic groups, etc. notified as SC’s in different states and UT’s. The number of individual ethnic groups, etc. notified as ST’s is 705. There has been some changes in the list of SC’s/ST’s in states and UT’s during the last decade. The SC population in India now stands at 201.4 million, which is 20 per cent more than the last census. The ST population stands at 104.3 million in 2011 – 23.7 per cent more than 2001.

Religious demographics

The religious data on India Census 2011 was released by the Government of India on 25 August 2015. Hindus are 79.8% (966.3 million), while Muslims are 14.23% (172.2 million) in India. For the first time, a “No religion” category was added in the 2011 census. 2.87 million Were classified as people belonging to “No Religion” in India in the 2011 census. – 0.24% of India’s population of 1.21 billion. Given below is the decade-by-decade religious composition of India till the 2011 census. There are six religions in India that have been awarded “National Minority” status – Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis.

State of Literacy

The literacy rate is calculated for the population above 7 years. I attach more importance to the female literacy rate than the overall literacy rate. Kerala has the highest literacy rate, both for males (96%) and females (92%). At the other end is Bihar where the male literacy rate is 73% while the female literacy rate is 53%. It means that almost half of the female population is illiterate. What education policy can we then formulate for the whole country? The policy must be state and region-specific.

Worsening Child Sex Ratio (0-6 years)

The Child Sex Ratio stands for the number of girls per 1000 boys in the age group 0-6 years. The most disturbing aspect of 2011 census data by far is the growing imbalance between the sexes in the youngest age group (0-6) which is indicative of female foeticide. In short, the girl child is not wanted and therefore not allowed to be born, thanks to the use of modern medical technology.

The CSR has continuously declined from 976 in 1961 to 914 in 2011. It should certainly be a cause for concern to our leaders of society and the government.


Decline in Child Population

The 2011 Census is the first one in many decades which counted less absolute number of children in the 0-6 age group. Compared to 2001 Census count of 164 million children, there were 159 million children in 2011, or there were 5 million fewer children in India. This is evident in the share of children in the total population, which declined from 16 percent in 2001 to 13.1 percent in 2011. Among the major states, the only exceptions were Bihar and Jammu & Kashmir, which reported some absolute increase in their child population. In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, children aged 0-6 constitute less than 10 percent of the population but in Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, children’s share in the total population is almost 18 percent. The decline in child population reflects decline in fertility; total fertility rate in India has come down from an average of 3.1 children born per woman in 2001 to 2.7 in 2009.

Labour force

As per the Census 2001, the Indian workforce is over 400 million strong, which constitutes 39.1 % of the total population of the country. The workers comprise 312 million main workers and 88 million marginal workers (i.e., those who did not work for at least 183 days in the preceding 12 months to the census taking) Sex differential among the number of male and female worker in the total workforce is significant. Of the total 402 million workers, 275 million are males and 127 million females. This would mean that 51.7 percent of the total males and 25.6 percent of the total females are workers. The number of female workers is about less than half the number of male workers. In terms of proportion, 68.4 percent of the workers are males and 31.6 percent females.o the census taking).

Main workers constitute 77.8 percent of the total workers. The remaining are marginal workers. Among the main workers, female workers, are only 23.3 % and 76.7% are male workers. Majority of female workers (87.3 percent) are from rural areas. This is also twice that of male workers, which may be due to their being employed predominantly in activities like cultivation and agricultural labour. In the urban areas, majority of female workers are engaged in Households industry and other work.


India is the second most populous country in the world next only to China. On March 1, 2011 the total population of India was at 1.247 billion. This accounted for 17.5% of the world’s total population. In other words, about every sixth person in the world there is an Indian. China, the most populous country of the world, is a step ahead of us as every fifth person in the world there is a Chinese. While India possesses only 2.42% of the world’s total land area, she is required to sustain almost 17.5% of the world’s population.

Two components of population growth are: Natural growth: It is analysed by assessing the crude birth and death rates. Induced growth: It is assessed by the volume of inward and outward movement of people in any given area. There are four phases of population growth in India. The period from 1901-1921 is referred to as a period of stagnant growth of India’s population. The high birth rate was counterbalanced by high death rate. The decades 1921-1951 are referred to as the period of steady population growth. The mortality rate started showing downward trend as a result of improvement in general health and sanitation conditions after 1921.

The density of population is expressed as the number of persons per square kilometre. According to 2011 census, the density of population in India is 382 persons per square kilometre. Over the last 100 years density has increased more than four times.

Density and its variation across states can be accessed by the following table:-

StateArea Sq. KmDensity 2011Density 2001Density


India (Average)3,287,240382324
4Daman and Diu1112,1911,413
7West Bengal88,7521,028903
9Uttar Pradesh240,928829690
10Dadra and Nagar Haveli491700449
12Tamil Nadu130,060555480
21Andhra Pradesh275,045308277
23Madhya Pradesh308,252236196
29Himachal Pradesh55,673123109
32Jammu and Kashmir222,2365646
34Andaman and Nicobar Islands8,2494643
35Arunachal Pradesh83,7431713






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