Census takes place every ten years. Census shows total amount of population, growth-rate of population, density of population, working population and dependants, birth-rate and death-rate etc. The last census took place in 2011. The detailed feature of population of India is given below.

Size of Population:

According to 1981 census, population of India was 68.5 crores and increased to 84.4 crores in the year 1991 census which was 15% of the world population and it became the second populous country of the world. However as per the last census i.e. 2001 the population of India is 102.7 crores and it continues to be the second-most populous country of the world. 21.3% of world’s population lives in China and it is the most populated country of the world. India occupies 2.4% of the world’s area but she bears 15% of population.

After independence, census was held in 1951 and in that year, population was 36.1 crores and increased to 68.5 crores in 1981 and to 84.4 crores in 1991 and to 102.7 crores in 2001. It means during 4 decades, population has been more than the double.


During 1971 and 1981, population increased by 13.7 crores and the growth-rate was 2.5% per year and in between 1981 and 1991 population increased by 15.9 crores and the growth-rate was 2.35 and in between 1991-2001 population increased by 18.3 crores and the growth rate is 2.13. Due to excessive growth of population after the year 1951, it has been treated as “population explosion”,

Density of Population:

Density of population refers to the number of population per square kilometer. It is found out by dividing total population with the total area. It shows the ratio between land-man.

According to 1981 and 1991 census, the density of population was 216 and 267 respectively. But the density is 324 in 2001, which means 324 persons are living in one square kilometer. If we study the density of population, we find it more in some States and less in some other States in comparison to national average.


According to 2001 census West Bengal has the highest density of population (904) and Arunachal Pradesh has the lowest density of population (13). The density of population of Orissa is 236 and 165 for Rajasthan, 196 for Madhya Pradesh, and 880 for Bihar.

The density of population is different because of difference in natural conditions and some other conditions. The density of population is more in plains and river areas but it is less in hilly and rocky areas. As agriculture is the main source of occupation, the area in which rain is better and land is more productive, it can provide more facilities to more people for their living.

The density of irrigated area is more than the non-irrigated area. If any area is industrially and commercially developed, then density of population will be more. So climate, nature of the soil, economic development and some other factors affect the density of population.

Ratio between male and female:


The number of female per one thousand male is known as male-female-ratio or sex ratio. According to 2001 census, there are 933 female per one thousand male. In the year 1991 the ratio was 927 and it has shown an increasing trend. In the year 1991 in Kerala only the ratio for female was more and in other States the number of male was more than female. In Kerala it was 1040 female per 1000 male population whereas in Arunachal Pradesh the female number was 861 i.e. the lowest.

Infant mortality rate:

Any death before the age of five is known as child death. According to 2001 census the infant mortality rate was 70 which show a declining trend in comparison to 1991 census. According to 1991 census the death-rate of infants was 91 for every 1000 children. It means 91 children out of 1000 were dying before the age of five. The infant mortality-rate was 183 during the period 1941 to 51. Though infant mortality-rate has been declining but it is too high in comparison to developed countries of the world.

Life expectancy:


According to 1991 census, the life expectancy of India’s population was 58.0 years. During the period 1961 to 1971 life expectancy was 46.3 years and it was only 23 years during 1901 to 1910. It shows that the life expectancy has been increasing and it is due to improvement in health facilities and medical science. This increasing life expectancy is lower than the life expectancy of developed countries.


According to census, a man who knows reading and writing with proper understanding is known as literate. According to 2001 census 65.4 per cent of the total populations are literate. The literacy rate among male is 75.9 and female is 54.2.

According to 1991 census 51.11 of the total population were literate. The literacy-rate among male was 63.86 and only 39.42 for female. Literacy-rate was only 16.67 in 1951 and increased to 29.45 in 1981 and again to 36, 17 in 1981 and 52.11 in 1991. It means literacy-rate has been improving. Though literacy-rate has been rising due to rapid increase in population, the number of illiterates has also been rising from literacy point of view. Males are far ahead of females. The literacy-rate is higher in Kerala (90.90%) and it is the lowest in Bihar (47.5%).



India is a land of villages. Most of her people live in villages. 1991 census shows, 25.72% of the total population were living in the urban sector. It was only 11.2% in 1921 which increased to 17.62% in 1951 again to 19.87% in 1971 and in 1981, it was 23.7. So the work of urbanization has been going on and it is also a symptom of economic development.

Causes of the growth of population:

Population growth depends upon the birth-rate and death-rate. If birth-rate is more than death-rate, population rises. As our birth-rate is more than death-rate, population is increasing. It means high birth­rate and low death-rate are the two important causes of the rapid growth of population. So it is necessary to study the reasons of high birth-rate and low death-rate.