Pop­u­la­tion at 1.21 bn

Southasia - - On record -

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.

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