Chapter 1. Population: Distribution, Density, Growth & Composition

• As per 2011 census, Indian population is 1.21 billion and India is second most populous country in world after China. The first population census in India was conducted in 1872 under British Viceroy Lord Mayo but complete census was conducted only in 1881.

Distribution of Population
• Uttar Pradesh is most populous state in India followed by Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal & Andhra Pradesh while least populated state is Sikkim.
• The North Indian Plains, deltas & Coastal Plains have a higher proportion of population than interior districts of southern and central Indian States, Himalayas, and some of north eastern and western states.
• The socio-economic and historical factors of distribution of population are an evolution of settled agriculture and agricultural development; pattern of human settlement; development of transport networks, industrialisation and urbanisation.

Density of Population
• The population density of India as per 2011 census is 382 person per square kilometer.
• Bihar (1102) is most densely populated state followed by west Bengal (1029) and Kerala (859).
• States like Assam, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, and Orrisa have moderate densities. The hill states of Himalayan region and North eastern states of India (excluding Assam) have relatively low densities while Union Territories (excluding Andaman and Nicobar islands) have a very high densities of population.

Growth of Population
• It is change in number of people living in a particular area between two points in time. Its rate is expressed in percentages.
• There are four different phases of growth rate in India:
1. Phase I: The period from 1901-1921 is referred to as a period of stagnant or stationary phase of growth of India’s Population.
2. Phase II: The decades 1921-1951 are referred to as period of steady population growth. An overall improvement in health and sanitation throughout country brought down mortality rate.
3. Phase III: The decades 1951-1981 are referred to as period of population explosion in India, which was caused by a rapid fall in mortality rate but a high fertility rate of population in country.
4. Phase IV: Post-1981 till present, growth rate of country’s population remained high and has started slowing down gradually.
National Youth Policy: It was launched in February 2014. It has defined ‘youth’ as persons in age group of 15-29 years. It provides a holistic vision for youth of India which is ‘to empower youth of country to achieve full potential’.

Population Composition
• It is study of composition of Indian population with respect to their rural-urban characteristics, language, religion & pattern of occupation.
1. Rural-Urban Composition: India has 640,867 villages according to Census of 2011 out of which 597,608 (93.2 percent) are inhabited villages. Bihar and Sikkim have a very high percentage of rural population. The states of Goa and Maharashtra have only little over half of their total population residing in villages. The Union Territories, on other hand, have a smaller proportion of rural population, except for Dadra and Nagar Haveli (53.38 percent). Contrary to rural population, proportion of urban population (31.16 percent) in India is quite low but it is showing a much faster rate of growth over decades.
2. Linguistic Classification: The speakers of Major Indian languages belong to 4 language families.

Family Sub-Family Branch/Group Speech Areas
Austric (Nishada) 1.38% Austro-Astatic Austro-Nesian Mon-Khmer Munda Meghalaya, Nicobar Island West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra Outside India
Dravidian (Dravida) 20% South-Dravidian Central Dravidian North Dravidian Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala Andhra Pradesh, M.P., Orissa, Maharashtra Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh
Sino-Tibetan (Kirata) 0.85% Tibeto-Myanmari Siamese-Chinese Tibeto-Himalayan North Assam Assam Myanmari Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim Arunachal Pradesh Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya
Indo-European (Aryan) 73% Indo-Aryan Iranian Dardic Indo-Aryan Outside India Jammu & Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, U.P., Rajasthan, Haryana, M.P., Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam, Gujarat Maharashtra, Goa.

3. Religious Composition: Hindus are distributed as a major group in many states and Muslims are largest religious minority in most of states except Kashmir valley and Lakshadweep where they are in majority. Jains and Buddhists are smallest religious groups in India.

Religion %Population
Hindu 96.63 crores (79.8%)
Muslim 17.22 crores (14.2%)
Christian 2.78 crores (2.3%)
Sikh 2.08 crores (1.7%)
Buddhist 0.84 crores (0.7%)
Jain 0.45 crores (0.4%)
Other Religions & Persuasions (ORP) 0.79 crores (0.7%)
Religion Not Stated 0.29 crores (0.2%)

Table: Religious communities of India, Census 2011 Composition of Working Population
• India has a total workforce of 49.42 crores as per latest survey of NSSO conducted in year 2019.
• The population of India according to their economic status is divided into three groups:
1. Main workers: who work at least 183 days (or 6 months) in a year
2. Marginal workers: who works for less than 183 days (or 6 months) in a year.
3. Non-workers

Promoting Gender Sensitivity through ‘Beti Bachao–Beti Padhao’ Social Campaign
• The division of society into male, female & transgender is believed to be natural and biological. But, in reality, there are social constructs and roles assigned to individuals which are reinforced by social institutions.
• It is a global challenge, which has been acknowledged by UNDP when it mentioned that, ‘If development is not engendered it is endangered’ (HDR UNDP 1995). Discrimination, in general, and gender discrimination, in particular, is a crime against humanity.
• The Government of India has duly acknowledged adverse impacts of these discriminations and launched a nationwide campaign known as ‘Beti Bachao – Beti Padhao’.
• The number of female workers is relatively high in primary sector, though in recent years there has been some improvement in work participation of women in secondary and tertiary sectors.

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