CENSUS: A nation of 1.21 billion

Published: Saturday 30 April 2011


  • India is home to 1,210 million people, almost equal to the combined population of the US, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Japan (1,214 million)
  • India is the most populous nation after China (1,342 million). India hosts 17.5 per cent of the world’s population compared to China’s 19.4 per cent. Of 28 states and seven Union Territories, 20 states contribute to 98 per cent of India’s population
  • The government had constituted an Empowered Action Group (EAG) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare following 2001 census to stabilise population in eight states (called EAG states) that were lagging in containing population. As per the latest census, EAG states Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha have shown little improvement. They cover over 45 per cent of India’s population


  • The current sex ratio (940) is the highest since 1971 (930)
  • The child sex ratio has fallen in 27 states (including Union Territories) in this decade

For every 1,000 boys under age six there are 914 girls. This ratio is an all-time low Haryana and Punjab have the lowest child sex ratio of 830 and 846, respectively Mizoram has the highest child sex ratio of 971



  • National average literacy rate (74%) falls behind Planning Commission’s target for March 2011 (85%)
  • Of 217,700,941 literates added during the decade, females (110,069,001) outnumbered males (107,631,940)
  • The difference between male and female literacy rate at national level is 16%

2011: the round up
Majority of EAG states (high population growth) have literacy levels lower than national average


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