Population Facts about India

General Points

  • As per Census 2011, India's population stood at 1,21,05,69,573.
  • The census moment, the referral time at which the snapshot of the population is taken was 00.00 hours of 1 March 2001. Until the 1991 Census, the sunrise of 1 March was taken to be the census moment.
  • India’s population as on 1 March 2001 stood at 1,028 million (532.1 million males and 496.4 million females).
  • India's population grew by 18,14,55,986 (17.64%) at the rate of 1.64% per annum in the decade 2001-11.
  • India accounts for a meagre 2.4 per cent of the world surface area of 135.79 million sq km. Yet, it supports and sustains a whopping 17.5 per cent of the world population.
  • India in relation to other countries
  • The growth in India's population during the decade 2001-11 is slightly lower than the population of Brazil, the fifth most populated country in the world.
  • China's decadal growth is 0.53% against India's 1.64%. At the present rates India is likely to overtake China as the most populous country of world by 2030.
  • Three most populous countries of the world viz. China (1.34 billion), India (1.21 billion) and USA (308.7 million) account for 40% population of the world.
  • The population of India is almost equal to the combined population of U.S.A., Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Japan.

Population Growth - 1901-2011

  • The population of India in 1901 was 23,83,96,327. It increased more than four times by 2011.
  • The population of India in grew by just one and half times in the first half of twentieth century, while it recorded a three fold growth in the latter half of the century.
  • The population of India saw a negative growth during 1911-1921 when its population decreased from 25,20,93,390 to 25,13,21,213.
  • The population of India in 1951, just four years after independence was 36,10,88,090.

Density of Population

  • The population density of India is 382 persons per square kilometre while it was 325 persons in 2001.
  • India had a population density of just 77 persons per sq. km in 1901.

Gender Composition

  • Out of the total population, the number of males in India is 62,37,34,248 and number of females is 58,64,69,174.
  • The above figures give a sex ratio of 943 females per 1000 males which is an improvement of 10 points over the 2001 sex ratio of 933.
  • India had the highest sex ratio in 1901 when it was 972 and worst in 1991 when it was 927.
  • India has poorer sex ratio when compared to its neighbours - Pakistan (943), Sri Lanka (1034), Nepal (1014), Myanmar (1048) and Bangladesh (978) while it is better than China (926), Afghanistan (931) and Bhutan (897).


  • For the purposes of Census, a person aged 7 and above who can both read and write with understanding in any language is treated as literate. A person who can only read but cannot write is not literate. In the census prior to 1991, children below five years of age were necessarily treated as illiterates.
  • The overall literacy rate as per 2011 census is 74.04%. The literacy rate in 2001 was 65%.
  • The literacy rate is 82.14% for males and 65.46% for females.


    Test Yourself - True or False

    1. At the present rate India is likely to overtake China by the year 2025
    2. The population density of India is 382 persons per sqkm
    3. The sex ratio of Pakistan and Bangladesh is better than that of India
    4. The literacy rate among females in India is about 74%
    5. The population of USA is about one-third of India's population
    6. A person who can only read but cannot write is also considered literate
    7. India's population growth rate for the decade 2001-11 has been 1.64%
    8. The sex ratio in India as per 2011 census is about 960 females per 1000 males