Important notes on Census for competitive exams

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

Census is an official systematic survey of the population of a country. The last census in India was conducted in 2011 and the next will taken in this year, i.e., 2021. Read the full article to know about the census of India

A census is an official systematic survey of the population of a country. The last census in India was conducted in 2011 and the next will taken in 2021. 

About Census in India

  • Census is a process of collecting, compiling, analyzing, evaluating, publishing and disseminating statistical data regarding the population of a country.
  • It covers demographic, social and economic data.
  • It started in 1872 under British Viceroy Lord Mayo but first synchronous census in India was held in 1881. Since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every 10 years.
  • It provides snapshot of the country’s population and housing at a given point of time.
  • It is legally backed by the Census Act, 1948.
  • It is being prepared by National Sample Survey Organization.
  • Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner under Ministry of Home Affairs responsible for conducting the decennial Census.

Census 2021

  • Census 2011 was the 16th census of India & 8th census after Independence of India
  • It will be conducted in 18 languages out of 22 scheduled languages (under 8th schedule) and English, while Census 2011 was conducted in 16 of the 22 scheduled languages.
  • The “Other” option under the gender category will be changed to “Third Gender”.
  • For the first time in 140 year history of census in India, data is proposed to be collected through a mobile app by enumerators and they will receive an additional payment as an incentive.
  • Census 2021 will be the world’s largest enumeration exercise.
  • Census data would be available by the year 2024-25 as the entire process will be conducted digitally and data crunching would be quicker.
  • NSSO has started its population survey which will be published in 2021
  • The current population of India is 1,380,233,788 based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data.
  • It will be conducted in two phases:
    • House-listing phase with 34 parameters from April 2020 to September 2020
    • Population enumeration phase with 28 parameters from February 9 2021 to February 28 2021.

Issue of Caste Data Collection in Census 2021

  • Ministry of Home Affairs in 2018 declared that the Other Backward Class (OBC) category would be included in the Census 2021. However, Registrar-General of India (RGI) has said that only SC/ST will be included as the unreliable nature of caste data collection decreases the credibility of the results.
  • The 2011 caste data, collected as part of Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC), is yet to be released by the Centre and failed to provide any tangible outcome.
  • The last caste-based census was conducted by the British in 1931.

Census 2011

  • Census 2011 data was released on 31st March 2011 by Union Home Secretary and Registrar General of India.
  • Census 2011 was the 15th census of India & 7th census after Independence of India.
  • Motto of census 2011: “Our Census, Our future”.
  • Registrar General & Census Commissioner under whom census 2011 was conducted: C.Chandra Mouli
  • Registrar General & Census Commissioner during census 2011: K. Banthia.
  • Total Population: 1,210,569,573 (1.21 Billion)
  • India became the 2nd most populous country with 17.64%. decadal growth after China.
  • Increase in population from 2001 to 2011: 181 Million
  • There were roughly 5 lakh people under other category in 2011.
  • Census 2011 was held in two phases:
    • Houselisting & Housing Census (April to September 2010)
    • Population Enumeration (9th to 28th February 2011)
  • Number of Administrative Units in Census 2011
    • States/UTs: 35
    • Districts: 640
    • Sub-districts: 5,924
    • Towns: 7,936
    • Villages: 6.41 lakh
  • Literacy Rate in from Census of India 2011
    • Males: 82.14%
    • Females: 65.46%
    • Overall Literacy: 74%

Census Data 2011


Top Performer States

State with the highest population density


State with the lowest population density

Arunachal Pradesh

Union territory with least population


State with the highest population 

Uttar Pradesh

State with the lowest population


State with the highest sex ratio


State with the lowest sex ratio


State with the highest literacy rate


State with the lowest literacy rate


Other Important Facts Related to 2011 Census of India

Facts about districts

  • Most populated district: Thane district of Maharashtra
  • Least Populated: Dibang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh
  • Highest population growth: Kurung Kumey of Arunachal Pradesh with growth rate of 111.01%.
  • Negative population growth: Longleng district of Nagaland with growth rate of (-)58.39%.
  • Highest sex ratio: Mahe district of Puducherry with 1176 females per 1000 males.
  • Lowest sex ratio: Daman district with 533 females per 1000 males.
  • Highest literacy rate: Serchhip district of Mizoram (98.76%).
  • Least literate district: Alirajpur of MP (37.22%).
  • Highest density: North East Delhi (37346 people per square km).
  • Least density: Dibang Valley (1 person per sq. km).

Facts about cities

  • Most Populated City: Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • Least populated: Kapurthala city, Punjab.
  • Highest sex ratio: Kozhikode, Kerala (1093 females per 1000 males).
  • Lowest sex ratio: Bhiwandi city, Maharashtra (709 females per 1000 males)
  • Highest literacy rate: Aizawl city, Mizoram (98.76%).
  • Least literate city: Sambhal, UP (48%).

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