Population at 1.21 bn
India’s population is now pegged at 1.21 billion, an increase of more than 181 million in the last 10 years, according to the provisional 2011 Census report released last month.
The Indian population comprises 623.7 million males and 586.5 million females. But the rate of growth is slower than at any time since 1947. The 2011 census charts a population increase of 17.6%, compared with 21.5% over the previous decade.
Indians now make up 17% of the world’s population where Uttar Pradesh remains its most populous state, with 199 million people while Lakshadweep is the least populated at 64,429. The highest population density is in Delhi’s north-east district (37,346 per sq km) while the lowest is in Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh (just one per sq km). The country is on course to overtake China as the world’s most populous nation by 2030.
According to the data, literates constitute 74 per cent of the total population aged seven and above and illiterates form 26 per cent. The literacy rate has gone up from 64.83 per cent in 2001 showing an increase of 9.21 per cent.
The census also indicated a preference for boys over girls in the country. A gender breakdown among children showed 914 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of six, compared to 927 for every 1,000 in the last census – the lowest since Independence. Female feticide remains common where sons are still seen by many as wage-earners for the future.
India started its 2011 census in April last year, with 2.5 million officials traveling across the nation to reach more than 600,000 villages and 7,000 towns and cities. Final census figures are expected to be released later this year.