Census of India

Census is arguably the largest exercise conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. The Census takes place once every ten years and provides data on Population enumeration, the mother tongue of people, religion, and a host of other things which are covered in this vast report that creates a kind of repository for people all over India. The topic of the Census of India is comprehensive and is the basis of many Policies made at the Central and State Government. One can expect questions from this topic in the General Awareness section in TISSNET. Here, we would be looking at some aspects related to the Census and some of the highlights from the Census report of 2011.

What is Census?

Census can be looked at as a process of collecting, compiling, analyzing, evaluating, publishing, and dissemi- nating statistical data regarding the population. It covers demographic, social, and economic data. The Census of India 2011 was conducted in two phases as follows: i) House listing & Housing Census and ii) Population Enumeration.

The population of India, which stood at 1,210.2 million, is nearly equal to the combined population of the fol lowing countries:


The population of India has seen an increase of around 181 million during the last decade from 2001-2011. This addition is slightly less than the population of Brazil, the fifth most populous country in the world. 2001- 2011 is the first-ever decade (with the exception of 1911-1921) which has actually seen a decrease in popula- tion as compared to the previous decade. The decadal growth rate during the decade of 2001-2011 has seen the sharpest decline since Independence.

Important Points To Remember Census Of India 2011

  • Census is the counting of the number of people living in a country and collection of infor- mation about them for official purposes.
  • Census was introduced in India during the era of Lord Mayo in the year 1872. It came into force from 1881.
  • The first-ever Census was carried out in Sweden in the year 1749.
  • The responsibility of conducting the decennial Census rests with the Office of the Regis- trar General and Census Commissioner, India under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
  • The highest post for Census Organisation is the post of Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India
  • In India, the 15th Census was carried out in 2011. It was the 7th Census of Inde- pendent India.
  • According to the Census Analytical Report, India has the highest youth population, and in the year 2020, the average age of Indians would be 29 years.
  • According to the data of Census 2011, the Indian Population amounts to 121 crore which is 17.5% of the world’s population.
  • In the decade, 2001-2011, an increase of 17.7% has been seen in the Indian Popula- tion.
  • The people residing in Urban areas constitute 31.2% of the Indian Population (around 37 crores), while the Rural Area nests 68.8% of the Indian Population. According to Census 2011, the highest percentage of Rural Population resides in Himachal Pradesh.
  • According to the National Portal of India, to reach stability in Population the target has been changed from the year 2045 to the year 2070.
  • The percentage increase in overall Population Growth is calculated by the difference be- tween the birth rate and the death rate of the concerned country/region.

Indian Population Census Of India 2011 Population-

India’s total population stands at 1.21 billion, which is 17.7 percent more than the last decade. The population growth of females was greater than that of males. The male population rose by 90.97 million, while the female population rose by 90.99 million females. India’s population grew by 17.7 percent during the decade of 2001- 11, as against 21.5 percent in the previous decade. Among the main states, the highest decadal growth in population has been recorded in Bihar (25.4 percent) while 14 states and Union Territories have recorded an increase of 20 percent.

Decadal Growth Rate Census Of India 2011

Density of Population (per square km) Census Of India 2011

The Population Density has increased from 325/sq km in 2001 to 382/sq km in 2011. Among the states, Bihar has the highest population density with a density of 1106/sq km, surpassing West Bengal which had the highest population density in the

Population density over Indian region according to 2011 census of India. |  Download Scientific Diagram

Census. Delhi (11,320) is the most densely inhabited and is followed by Chandigarh (9,258), among all the states and UT’s, both in 2001 and 2011 Census. Arunachal Pradesh has a mini- mum population density with a density of only 17/sq km.

Sex Ratio Census Of India 2011

The sex ratio of the country in 2011 stands at 940 females against 1000 males, which is 10 percent more than the last census when the sex ratio stood at 933.

Haryana has the worst male-female sex ratio among all states while Kerala fares the best. The number of fe- males per 1000 males in Haryana in 2011 stands at 879 followed by Jammu and Kashmir (889 female) and Punjab (895 females).

The five top-performing states in terms of sex ratio were Kerala (1,084 females), Tamil Nadu (996), Andhra Pradesh (993), Chhattisgarh (991), Odisha (979).

Literacy Rate Census Of India 2011

The literacy rate in India in 2011 has increased by 8 percent to 73 percent as compared to 64.8 percent in 2001. While the male literacy rate stands at 80.9 percent – which is a 5.6 percent increase from the previous census, the female literacy rate stands at 64.6 percent — which is a rise of 10.9 percent from the previous Census data of 2001.

The highest increase in literacy rate was seen in the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli by 18.6 points (from 57.6 percent to 76.2 percent), Bihar by 14.8 points (from 47.0 percent to 61.8 percent), Tripura by 14.0 points (from 73.2 percent to 87.2 percent) Improvement in female literacy is above the male Literacy rate in all the states and UTs, except for Mizoram (where the literacy rate is same for both males and females).

The gap between the literacy rate in urban and rural areas has been on a steady decline in every census. The gender gap in literacy rate is steadily declining in every census. In Census 2011, the gap stands at 16.3 points. The top five states and UTs, where literacy rate has been recorded to be the highest, are Kerala (94 percent), Lakshadweep (91.8 percent), Mizoram (91.3 percent), Goa (88.7 percent) and Tripura (87.2). The bottom five states in terms of Literacy rate are Bihar (61.8 percent), Arunachal Pradesh (65.4 percent), Rajasthan (66.1 per- cent), Jharkhand (66.4 percent) and Andhra Pradesh (67 percent).

Maximum Difference in Literacy rate of Females & Males

Rajasthan : 27.1%

Male Literacy Rate for Rajasthan : 79.2%

Female Literacy Rate for Rajasthan : 52.1%

Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribes

The number of individual ethnic groups, which are notified as ST’s is 705. There have been some changes within the list of SC’s/ST’s in states and UT’s during the last decade. The SC population in India now stands at 201.4 million, which is a 20 percent increase from the last census. The ST population stands at 104.3 million in 2011 – a 23.7 percent increase from the population in 2001.

  • Sixteenth Census (2021):
    • Census 2021 was postponed owing to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
    • However, it will be the first digital Census, also with a provision for self-enumeration.
    • It is for the first time that information of households headed by a person from the Transgender Community and members living in the family will be collected.
    • Earlier there was a column for male and female only.

Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC)

  • About:
    • The Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) was conducted in 2011 for the first time since 1931.
    • It seeks to canvass every Indian family in rural and urban India, and ask about their:
      • Economic status, to allow Central/State authorities to come up with a range of indicators of deprivation which could be used by each authority to define a poor or deprived person.
      • Specific caste name, to allow the government to re-evaluate which caste groups are economically worse off and which are better off.
  • Difference Between Census & SECC:
    • Field of Coverage: The Census provides a portrait of the Indian population while the SECC is a tool to identify beneficiaries of state support.
    • Confidentiality of Data: The Census data is considered confidential, whereas the data of SECC is open for use by Government departments to grant and/or restrict benefits to the people.
  • Significance of SECC:
    • Better Mapping of Inequalities: SECC has the potential to allow for a mapping of inequalities at a broader level.
      • It will be useful to establish statistical justification for preserving caste-based affirmative action programmes or welfare schemes.
    • Legally Imperative: It is also legally imperative as the courts require a ‘quantifiable data’ to support the existing levels of reservation.
    • Constitutional Mandate: The Constitution of India also favours conducting a caste census.
      • Article 340 mandates the appointment of a commission to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes and make recommendations as to the steps that should be taken by governments.
  • Associated Concerns with SECC:
    • Repercussions of a Caste Census: Caste has an emotive element and thus there exist the political and social repercussions of a caste census.
      • There have been concerns that counting caste may help solidify or harden identities.
      • Due to these repercussions, nearly a decade after the SECC, a sizable amount of its data remains unreleased or released only in parts.
    • Caste is Context-specific: Caste has never been a proxy for class or deprivation in India; it constitutes a distinct kind of embedded discrimination that often transcends class.

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