The Preliminary Demography of the 2001 Census of India



This note presents and comments on the provisional results of the 2001 census of India. For the first time since Independence in 1947 there is clear evidence that the country's intercensal rate of population growth has fallen significantly—from an average annual rate of 2.14 percent between 1981 and 1991 to a rate of 1.93 percent between 1991 and 2001. At the state level there has been little change in the rates of population growth in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, but there are signs of—often quite considerable—reductions in growth rates for most of the remaining states. The provisional census results suggest that there has been a decline in India's population masculinity compared to 1991. But the note contends that this decline is probably largely spurious because females were less fully enumerated in 1991 than they were in 2001. Indeed the sex ratios of the states of Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Gujarat have become noticeably more masculine, which may partly reflect the influence of sex-selective abortion.