Population Trends, Distribution and Prospects in the Districts of India

  • Rajesh K. Chauhan
  • Sanjay K. Mohanty
  • Udaya S. Mishra


Poised to become the most populous country of the world, India exhibits vast geographic variations in the size, composition and distribution of the population. The national and state average conceals large disparities in demographic variables across the districts of India. This chapter examines the population size, distribution, composition and selected characteristics in 640 districts of India. Recasted data for the Census of India 1991, 2001 and 2011 have been used. Districts of 2011 have been taken as the basis for comparison of various characteristics across the years 1991 and 2001.

Results suggest that the projected population of India are likely to be 1.35 billion by 2021 and 1.47 billion by 2031. India’s share of global population is likely to rise from 14.8% in 1951 to 17.7% in 2031. The average population size per district is likely to increase from 1.3 million in 1991 to 2.3 million in 2031. This increase in population is inevitable despite the fact that the annual exponential growth rate of population of 1.95% in 1991–2001 is expected to decline by half and is estimated to become 0.87% during 2021–2031.There is a clear north-south divide in demographic characteristics among the states and districts in India. With variations across districts, the child sex ratio presents a discouraging picture between 2001 and 2011. Median age and singulate mean age at marriage (SMAM) of the population are increasing, and dependency ratio is decreasing over time. The literacy level and the gender gap in the literacy level have declined over time. The demographic divide in the districts of India has been large and is likely to increase in the coming years.


India District Population growth Age structure Age dependency ratio Median age Singulate mean age at marriage Urbanization