Geography India - The People


Indian Population Map
  • Throughout the country, India has a highly uneven pattern of the population distribution.

  • Uttar Pradesh has the highest population followed by Maharashtra, Bihar, and West Bengal.

  • Terrain, climate, and availability of water largely determine the pattern of the population distribution. However, socio-economic and historical factors also affect the pattern of population distribution.

  • As per the 2011 census, urban population of India was 31.16% (the details of major urban center is illustrated in the following map).

Urban Population
  • As per census 2011, the annual population growth rate is 1.64 percent.

Top Ten Cities

Population Density

  • The density of population is expressed as the number of persons per unit area.

Indian Population Density
  • The density of population in India as per 2011 census is 382 persons per square km.

  • Bihar with 1102 people per square km is the most densely populated state of India followed by West Bengal (1029) and Uttar Pradesh (828).

  • Physiological density refers to the total population divided by the net cultivated area.

  • Agricultural density refers to the total agricultural population divided by the net cultivable area.

  • Agricultural population includes cultivators and agricultural laborers and their family members.

Phases of Population Growth

India’s population can be analyzed in four phases −

  • Phase I, the period between 1901 and 1921 − This period is known as stagnancy period, as the birth rate and death rate both were high and the population growth rate was very slow.

  • Phase II, the period between 1921 and 1951 − It was the period of steady population growth.

  • Phase III, the period between 1951 and 1981 − It was the period of population explosion in India.

  • Phase IV, from 1981 to till date − Population growth rate though still high, but reflecting a decreasing trend.

Population Composition

  • As per census 2011, 68.8 per cent of the total population lives in village and 31.2 per cent of the population lives in urban areas.

  • Considering the economic status, population can be divided into categories such as main workers, marginal workers, and non-workers.

  • As per the census 2011, main workers and marginal workers collectively constitute only about 39.8 percent of total population; rest are non-workers.

  • About 54.6 per cent of the total working population are cultivators and agricultural laborers

  • About 41.6 % are other workers, such as non-household industries, trade, commerce, construction, repair, and other services.

  • The number of female workers is relatively high in the primary sector.

  • The proportion of workers in agricultural sector in India has shown a declining trend over the last few decades; in 2001, it was 58.2%, whereas, in 2011, it was 54.6%.


  • As per the 2011 census, literacy rate of India was 74.04% (the details of literacy rate is illustrated in the following map − state-wise).

India Literacy

Sex Ratio

  • As per the 2011 census, sex ratio of India was 940 females per 1000 males (the details of sex ratio is illustrated in the following map − state-wise).

Indian Sex Ratio


  • In India, there are 22 scheduled languages and hundreds of non-scheduled languages.

  • Among the scheduled languages, Hindi is the highest spoken language and Kashmiri and Sanskrit have the least number of speakers.

Family Sub-Family Spoken Region

Austric (Nishada)




Meghalaya, Nicobar Islands, West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra

Dravidian (Dravida)


Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, M.P., Odisha, Maharashtra, Bihar


(Kirata), 0.85%



Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya

Indo–European (Aryan)


Indo-Aryan Jammu & Kashmir, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, U.P., Rajasthan, Haryana, M.P., Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa.


  • Religion is one of the most integral parts of the population composition of India.

  • More than 80 percent of the population comprises of Hindus followed by Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains.