Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Demographics of India
Although India occupies only 2.4% of the world's land area, it supports over 15% of the world's population. Only China has a larger population. Almost 40% of Indians are younger than 15 years of age. More than 70% of the people live in more than 550,000 villages, and the remainder in more than 200 towns and cities. Over thousands of years of its history, India has been invaded from the Iranian plateau, Central Asia, Arabia, Afghanistan, and the West; Indian people and culture have absorbed and changed these influences to produce a remarkable racial and cultural synthesis.
Religion, caste, and language are major determinants of social and political organization in India today. The government has recognized 18 languages as official; Hindi is the most widely spoken.
Although 80% of the people are Hindu, India also is the home of more than 120 million Muslims--one of the world's largest Muslim populations. The population also includes Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Jews.
The caste system reflects Indian occupational and socio-religiously defined hierarchies. Traditionally, there are four broad categories of castes (varnas), including a category of outcastes, earlier called "untouchables" but now commonly referred to as "dalits." Within these broad categories there are thousands of castes and subcastes, whose relative status varies from region to region. Despite economic modernization and laws countering discrimination against the lower end of the class structure, the caste system remains an important source of social identification for most Hindus and many non-Hindus as well, thus making it a potent factor in the political life of the country.
Population: 1,049,700,118 (Jul 2003 Est)
0-14 years: 32.2% (male 173,973,350; female 163,979,116)
15-64 years: 63% (male 342,620,712; female 319,259,867)
65 years and over: 4.8% (male 25,281,756; female 24,585,317) (2003 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.47% (2003 est.)
Birth rate: 23.28 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate: 8.49 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.03 male(s)/female
total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2000 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 59.59 deaths/1,000 live births female: 58.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.) male: 60.23 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 63.62 years
male: 62.92 years
female: 64.37 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.91 children born/woman (2003 est.)
Religions: Hindu 80%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, Others 2.5% (2001)
Languages: English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication, Hindi is the primary Official language of the Indian government and primary tongue of 30% of the people. Among the other major languages, Telugu (second highest spoken language in India), Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi and Tamil all have about 50 million or more speakers within the boundaries of India (with more living in other countries). There are 22 languages recognised by the Indian Constitution - Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.
India's census was conducted since ancient times. Kautilya's Arthashastra describes the collection of population statistics for taxation. The British were the first to conduct one in modern times conducting it in 1871.
As per the India Census Commission's recently released 2001 census figures give a breakdown of various parameters according to religion.
|% total of population||80.50||13.40||2.33||1.84||0.76||0.40||0.77|
|Sex ratio* (avg. 933)||931||936||1009||893||953||950||992|
|Literacy rate (avg. 64.8)||65.1||59.1||80.3||69.4||72.7||94.1||47|
|Work Participation Rate (avg. 50%)||40||31.3||40||37.7||40||32.9||NA|
|Rural sex ratio||944||953||1001||895||958||937||995|
|Urban sex ratio||894||907||1026||886||944||941||966|
|Child sex ratio (0-6 yrs)||925||950||964||786||942||870||927|
- Jews number about 4,000. 2,000 reside in Bombay
- Parsis number about 65,000, down from 71,000
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