New Delhi: India's population rose to 1.21 billion people over the last 10 years--an increase by 181 million, according to the provisional 2011 Census report released on Thursday.
It is significant to notice that for the first time in nine decades, the country has witnessed a slower growth.

China is still the most populous nation accounting for 19.4 per cent of the global population. The population, which accounts for world's 17.5 per cent population, comprises 623.7 million males and 586.5 million females, said a provisional 2011 Census report.

The country's headcount is almost equal to the combined population of the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Japan put together, it said.

The population has increased by more than 181 million during the decade 2001-2011, the report said. The growth rate in 2011 is 17.64 per cent in comparison to 21.15 per cent in
2001.

The 2001-2011 period is the first decade – with exception of 1911-1921 -- which has actually added lesser population compared to the previous decade, Registrar General
of India and Census Commissioner of India C Chandramauli said in presence of Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai.

Among the states and Union territories, Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state with 199 million people and Lakshadweep the least populated at 64,429. The combined population of UP and Maharashtra is bigger than that of the US.

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).

Apart from UP, other most populous states are -- Maharashtra (112.3 million), Bihar (103.8 million), West Bengal (91.3 million) and Andhra Pradesh (84.6 million).

Besides Lakshadweep, smallest UTs and states are – Daman and Diu (2,42,911), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (3,42,853), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (7,79,944) and Sikkim (6,07,688).

The percentage decadal growth rates of the six most populous states have declined during 2001-2011 compared to 1991-2001. Uttar Pradesh (25.85 per cent to 20.09 per cent),
Maharashtra (22.73 per cent to 15.99 per cent), Bihar (28.62 per cent to 25.07 per cent), West Bengal (17.77 per cent to 13.93 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (14.59 per cent to 11.10 per cent and Madhya Pradesh (24.26 per cent to 20.23 per cent).

"For the first time, there is a significant fall in the growth rate of population in the Empowered Action Group states after decades of stagnation," Chandramouli said.

The EAG states are : UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh Chhattisgarh and Orissa.

The total number of children in the age group of 0-6 is 158.8 million --- five million less since 2001.

Twenty states and UTs now have over one million children in the age group of 0-6 years. On the other extreme, there are five states and UTs that are yet to reach the 100,000 mark.

UP (29.7 million), Bihar (18.6 million), Maharashtra (12.8 million), Madhya Pradesh (10.5 million) and Rajasthan (10.5 million) constitute 52 per cent children in the age
group of 0-6 years.

The density of population in 2011 is 382 persons in per sq km in comparison to 325 in 2001. National capital Delhi (11,297) has the highest density of population followed by Union Territory Chandigarh (9,252) in per sq km while Arunachal Pradesh (17) and Andaman and Nicobar Islands (46) have the lowest density of population.

Chandramouli said post enumeration summary will be started soon and the final data is expected to be available next year and any error can be detected only then. There was a
2 per cent error in the 2001 Census report.

The provisional population report is arrived at by adding the population as reported by each enumerator for enumeration block assigned to him/her.

"There could be errors in addition or there could be cases of ommission/ duplication of enumerator blocks in the provisional report. The final population will be arrived at by
scanning of schedules, data processing and other checks," Chandramouli said.

The Census 2011 is the 15th census of India since 1872 and conducted in two phases -- houselisting and housing census (April to September 2010) and population enumeration (February 9 to 28, 2011).

The Census covered all 35 states and UTs and cost Rs 2,200 crore. 27 lakh enumerators were involved in the exercise where 8,000 metric tonnes of paper and 10,500 metric tonnes
of material moved.

Child sex ratio drops

Indicating a continuing preference for boys in society, the child sex ratio in India has dropped to 914 females against 1,000 males - the lowest since Independence.

Despite a slew of laws to prevent female foeticide and schemes to encourage families to have girl child, the ratio has declined from 927 females against 1,000 males in 2001 to
914, which was described as a "matter of grave concern" by Census Commissioner of India C Chandramauli.

Though an increasing trend in the child sex ratio (0-6 years) has been seen in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, in all remaining 27 states and Union Territories, the child sex ratio shows decline over Census 2001.

The highest child sex ratio has been reported in Mizoram (971 females against 1000 males) and Meghalaya (970). Notably, Punjab and Haryana, which have traditionally seen
low sex ratio, have recorded an increasing trend but still remained at the bottom of the list. Haryana has 830 female children and Punjab 846 against per 1000 male child.

Haryana's Jhajjar (774 females) and Mahendragarh (778 females) districts have the lowest sex ratio while Lahul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh has the highest sex ratio (1,013 females).

Uttar Pradesh (29.7 million), Bihar (18.6 million), Maharashtra (12.8 million), Madhya Pradesh (10.5 million) and Rajasthan (10.5 million) constitute 52 per cent children in
the age group of 0-6 years. Population (0-6 years) 2001-2011 registered minus 3.08 per cent growth with minus 2.42 for males and minus 3.80 for females.

However, in some good news, the overall sex ratio at the national level has increased by 7 points since the 2001 Census to reach 940 females per 1000 male at Census 2011.

This is the highest sex ratio recorded since 1971 and a shade lower than 1961. Increase in sex ratio has been recorded in 29 states and UTs while three major states - Bihar, Gujarat
and Jammu and Kashmir - have shown a decline in sex ratio as compared to Census 2001.

Kerala with 1084 has the highest sex ratio followed by Puducherry with 1038. Daman and Diu has the lowest sex ratio of 618.

India's literacy level is 74 pc

India's literacy level has increased by 9.21 per cent in the past 10 years to reach 74.04
per cent. Literates constitute 74 per cent of the total population aged seven and above and
illiterates form 26 per cent.

The literacy rate went up from 64.83 per cent in 2001 to 74.04 per cent in 2011 showing an increase of 9.21 per cent.

Interestingly, females literacy level saw a significant jump as compared to males between 2001-2011. While female literacy in 2001 stood at 53.67 per cent, it has gone up to 65.46 per cent in 2011. The male literacy in comparison rose from 75.26 to 82.14 per cent.

Kerala with 93.91 per cent continues to occupy the top position among states in the field of literacy while Mizoram's Serchhip (98.76 per cent) and Aizawl (98.50 per cent) recorded
highest literacy rates among districts.

Lakshadweep followed Kerala with a literacy level of 92.28 per cent, while Bihar remained at the bottom of the ladder with a literacy rate of 63.82 per cent followed by Arunachal Pradesh at 66.95 per cent.

Ten states and UTs viz. Kerala, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Tripura, Goa, Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Chandigarh, NCT of Delhi and Andaman and Nicobar Islands achieved literacy
rate of above 85 per cent, the target set by the Planning Commission to be achieved by 2011-12.

The gap of 21.59 percentage points recorded between male and female literacy rates in 2001 census has reduced to 16.68 percentage points in 2011. Planning Commission has set
up target of reducing this gap to 10 percentage points by 2011-12.

(JPN/Agencies)