India’s population has jumped to 1.21 billion, showing an increase by more than 181 million during the 2001-2011 decade, according to the provisional data of Census 2011 which was released on Thursday.

Though the country’s population is almost equal to the combined population of the U.S., Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Japan put together [1214.3 million], the silver lining is that 2001-2011 is the first decade with the exception of 1911-1921 which has actually added lesser population compared to the previous decade.

Of the total provisional population of 1210.2 million, the number of males was pegged at 623.7 million and the population of females stood at 586.5 million. The percentage growth in 2001-2011 was 17.64 – males 17.19 and females 18.12. India’s population accounts for world’s 17.5 per cent population.

The provisional data of Census 2011 was released by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India C. Chandramouli in the presence of Union Home Secretary G. K. Pillai.

``Provisional population is arrived at by adding the population as reported by each enumerator and the final population data is likely to be released next year,’’ Dr. Chandramouli told reporters here.

Uttar Pradesh most populous state

Among the States and Union Territories, Uttar Pradesh is the most populous State with 199 million people followed by Maharashtra at 112 million people and Lakshadweep is the least populated at 64,429 persons. The combined population of U.P. and Maharashtra is greater than that of the U.S.

The percentage decadal growth rates of the six most populous States have declined during 2001-2011 as compared to 1991-2001. The graph of population growth in U.P. shows a decline from 25.85 per cent to 20.09 per cent, in Maharashtra from 22.73 per cent to 15.99 per cent, Bihar from 28.62 per cent to 25.07 per cent, West Bengal from 17.77 per cent to 13.93 per cent, Andhra Pradesh from 14.59 per cent to 11.10 per cent and Madhya Pradesh from 24.26 per cent to 20.30 per cent. ``This shows that we have added population but the growth has been less,’’ Dr. Chandramouli said.

Sex-ratio at national level increases

Overall sex ratio at the national level has increased by seven points to reach 940 as provisional data for Census 2011 showed as against 933 in Census 2001. Increase in sex ratio was observed in 29 States/Union Territories.

Kerala with 1084 has the highest sex ratio followed by Puducherry with 1038. Daman and Diu has the lowest sex ratio of 618. ``This is the highest sex ratio at the national level since Census 1971 and a shade lower than 1961. Three major States – Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar and Gujarat – have shown a decline in sex ratio as compared to Census 2001,’’ Dr. Chandramouli said. India’s skewed sex ratio due to female foeticide and the practice of selective sex determination has been a cause for concern. Sex ratio is the number of females per 1000 males.

Child sex ratio a concern

However, the areas of grave concern, Dr. Chanramouli said, remains the lowest ever child sex ratio of 914. The provisional data showed that the child sex ratio [0 to 6 years] came down to 914 females per 1000 males as against 927 in the Census 2001. It showed a continuing preference for male children over females in the last decade. Increasing trend in the child sex ratio was seen in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram and Andaman and Nicobar Island but in all the remaining 27 States / Union Territories, the child sex ratio showed decline over Census 2001. Whereas overall sex ratio has shown improvement since 1991, decline in child sex ratio has been unabated since 1961 Census. The total number of children in 0 to 6 year age group is now 158.8 million, less by five million since 2001.

Literacy rate has gone up from 64.83 per cent in 2001 to 74.04 per cent, showing an increase of 9.21 percentage points.

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