Population Density, Distribution and Growth in India: Population Density at State Level, Population Density at District Level, Growth of Population

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Population Density at State Level

On the basis of availability of state level data, the density of population in India can be broadly divided into three zones:

Areas of High Density

The areas having a density of population of more than 400 persons per square kilometre are included in this category. These areas have a high density due to fertile land and high amount of precipitation e.g. Kerala, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu. In these regions, a larger number of people can be provided sustenance per unit of area due to availability of fertile land which can produce more food for a large number of people. But the situation is entirely different in the case of union territories like Delhi, Chandigarh and Pondicherry. These regions are highly urbanised and offer job opportunities in industrial and service sectors. Thus, we can say that the areas having fertile soil and those having good employment opportunities are densely populated.

Density of Population In India (2001)

Image of Density of Population in India (2001)

Areas of Moderate Density

States and union territories in which the density of population ranges between 100 and 400 persons per square kilometre are called areas of moderate density of population. They are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tripura, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Meghalaya. This region includes largest part of the country in terms of area. Moderate density of population is characterised by the areas in which the agriculture is handicapped by rugged topography, lower amount of precipitation, and paucity of water for irrigation. The scope for developing primary and secondary activities is quite large if the facilities are provided in this area. For example, at the time of independence Chhota Nagpur region was a sparsely populated area but development in the field of mining and industries in this part of the country has been mainly responsible for moderate density of population in this region.

Areas of Low Density

All the remaining parts of India having a density of population less than 100 persons per square kilometre may be classified under this category. The states and union territories falling under this category include Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Sikkim, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Low density population areas are characterised by rough terrain, low rainfall, or unhealthy climate. Due to the above reasons the prospects of earning livelihood is low in these areas. Agriculture cannot be developed in too dry or cold areas. Uneven topography and poor agricultural resources put a limit on urbanisation and industrialisation. Therefore, the number of persons that can be supported per unit area is low in such regions. Difficulties exist not only in transport and communication in the hilly and mountainous areas but also in the overall levels of economic development.

Population Density at District Level

  • A minute observation shows that in each state there are variations in distribution of population and more than one category of population density is found. The geographical or spatial distribution becomes clearer by making an analysis of district level pattern. The great unevenness in distribution is mainly because of the diverse physical conditions as well as the variations in the distribution of natural resources and stages of economic development. It varies from 2 persons per square kilometre in Lahul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh to 29,395 persons per square kilometre in National Capital Territory of Delhi. The top twenty districts in the country are either fully urban or highly urbanized.

  • It includes all the nine districts of Delhi; Kolkata, Howrah, and North Twenty-Four Pargana in West Bengal; Mumbai and Mumbai (suburban) in Maharashtra; Mahe and Pondicherry in the union territory of Pondicherry, Chennai; Bangalore; Hyderabad; and union territory of Chandigarh.

  • The density is generally high over two marked continuous stretches of land. They are- large parts of northern plains from Punjab to West Bengal and coastal plains from Orissa coast in the east to Konkan coast in the west.

  • A belt of moderately high densities extends over the entire Maharashtra, plains of Gujarat, Telangana, parts of Tamil Nadu, southern Karnataka, and the Chhota Nagpur region of Jharkhand. The areas of low density are generally found over the hilly forested and snow bound areas of the country, mainly situated in the Himalayan region, desert areas of Rajasthan specifically Jaisalmer districts, and large expanse of uninhabited marshy lands of Kachchh districts of Gujarat.

Growth of Population

  • The growth of population in a region depends upon fertility, mortality, and migration. Fertility or the birth rate is measured in terms of total number of live births per thousand population per year. Generally, the fertility rate is affected by various social, economic and demographic factors. Mortality or the death rate is measured in terms of total number of deaths per thousand population per year. The difference between these two rates i.e., fertility and mortality is called the natural growth rate. The term migration refers to the movement of people from one area to the other or from one country to another. The rate of migration affects the growth of population of a region by increasing or decreasing the number of people living there.

  • The growth rate of population may be positive or negative. A positive growth rate of population means an increase in the number of people living in a region, whereas negative growth rate means declining population. A positive growth rate occurs when the number of births and in migration exceeds the number of deaths and out migration. The negative growth rate means just opposite to positive growth rate.

India: Population Growth (1901-2001)

India: Population Growth (1901-2001)
India: Population Growth (1901-2001)

Census Year

Population in Million

Absolute Change in Millions

Change in%

Average Annual Growth in%





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