It needs to be noted that during the decade of 1981-91, the population of India increased by 23.86 per cent and the average annual exponential growth rate was 2.14. Both these indicators of population growth are lower than those observed during 1971-81.

It can be further noted that the lowering of the population growth is continued during 1991-2001, with the decadal growth rate being 21.34 per cent, and the average annual exponential growth rate being 1.93 per cent.

Though the growth rate of India’s population appears to be high, there are several other developing countries with even higher growth rates.

For instance during 1985-1990, the population growth rates of India’s immediate neighbours were as follows: Bangladesh: 2.67; Pakistan: 3.44; and Nepal: 2.48.


The birth rates of these and other Asian countries are also higher as compared to that of India, which was around 32.2 in 1987 per thousand according to the estimates of the Sample Registration Scheme.

It must, however, be borne in mind that the base population of India is very large, and, therefore, even a low growth rate leads to substantial additions to the population in absolute numbers. For during the period 1981-1991, the net increase was about 163 million, more than the population of Japan.

The Current Population Situation in the States and Union Territories the formation of three new states in 2000, namely, Uttaranchal (carved out of Uttar Pradesh), Jharkhand (carved out of Bihar) and Chhatisgarh (carved out of Madhya Pradesh), the population situation in 2001 is presented for differ­ent 28 states and 7 Union territories in India.

This population size of each State/Union Territory in 2001 in a descending order, rank of each State/Union Territory with respect to population size for 2001 and share of each State/ Union Territory in the total population of India for 1991 and 2001.


Individual States and Union Territories differ from one another with respect to population size. Uttar Pradesh, with a population of more than 166 million is by far the most populous state in India.

While Lakshadweep with a population of mere 60,595 persons is the least populous of India, Maharashtra (96.7 million) and Bihar (82.9 million) are the second and the third largest states with respect to population size.

In 1991, Bihar (86.3 million) ranked as the second most populous state, while Maharashtra (78.7 million) ranked third. With the formation of Jharkhand from Bihar, the rank of Bihar has gone down by one and that of Maharashtra upped by one.

In 2001, 19 States have a population of more than 10 million. There are eight States and Union Territories, which have a population of less than one million. Almost half of the country’s population lives in five states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.


The Indian States and Union Territories also differ a great deal with respect to their density of population. Delhi with a popu­lation density of 9,294 persons per square kilometer ranks first in 2001 and Arunachal Pradesh occupies the last position with popu­lation density of 13.

Three other Union Terrotories, namely Chandigarh (density 7,903), Pondicherry (density 2,029), Lakshadweep (density 1,894) and Daman and Diu (density 1,411) rank second, third, fourth and fifth respectively.

Among the states West Bengal with a population density of 904 persons per square kilometer is the most thickly populated state, followed by Bihar (density 880), Kerala (density 819) and Uttar Pradesh (density 689). Kerala which ranked seventh in respect to population density in 1991 has been pushed down to eighth position in 2001.

The density of the population of the country has gone up from 269 persons per square kilometers in 1991 to 324 persons per square kilometers in 2001.