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2011 Census of India: a population increase of 181 million in the last ten years

Population and Societies

478, May 2011

India recently completed its latest population census. Jacques Véron and Aswini K. Nanda explain how this vast and complex operation was organized in a country totalling more than a billion inhabitants. They also examine the initial census findings, published barely one month after field enumeration activities were completed - a remarkable feat. With a population that may increase by a further 500 million over the next half century, India will face enormous challenges in years to come.
The initial findings of the 2011 census of India, whose content, organization and data processing methods have been updated since the previous census, suggest that population growth has slowed since 2001 (mean annual growth of 1.64% versus 1.97% between 1991 and 2001) and that literacy has increased (from 65% in 2001 to 74% in 2011). But numerous disparities still exist, notably in fertility rates and infant mortality, but also in population densities, which are increasing on the fertile plains along the Ganges and in the megacities of Dehli and Kolkota (Calcutta). Discrimination against girls has decreased in states where it was most pronounced, but has become more severe elsewhere. Although the Indian population is well advanced in the demographic transition, its population will continue to grow over the next fifty years.

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