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Bihar – an unflattering picture: Census ’11

The state of Bihar as emerged as the state with the most ‘out of control’ population growth, according to the Census 2011. It also reaffirmed its place as the state with the worst socio-economic indicators in India.

According to the census, not only does Bihar have the fastest growing population of all the states in the country (except very small hill states), it also has the highest density of population as well.

As other big states, such as UP, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh reduced their population growth rate by 4-6% percentage points, Bihar’s population growth rate decreased by just 3.5% points.

As a result, the rate of growth of population in the state is at 25.07% (for 10 years), compared to 20.1% in UP, 20.3% in MP, 16% in Maharashtra and 11.1% in Andhra Pradesh.

The lowest growth rate is of Kerala, at 4.9% during the last ten years.

The growth in Bihar’s population has also made it the most densely populated state in India, overtaking West Bengal which held the dubious distinction for many years.

Bihar has 1,102 persons per square km — or about 4.5 people (one household) per acre of land. Ten years ago, it used to have just 881 persons per sq km.

In comparison, Punjab has 550 people and Haryana has 573 people per sq km. Neighboring MP has 236 people and Gujarat has 308 people.

Kerala, whose population is estimated to be stable or decreasing every year, has a density of 859 people.

In terms of cities and districts, North East Delhi had the highest density of population at 37,346 people per square km, followed by Chennai at 26,903 people.

Bihar also had the dubious distinction of not only having the fastest growing and densest population, but also the most poorly educated one.

Literacy, both for males and females, was lower than all other states in India, including Orissa, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh.

For males, it is 73.5%, compared to 82.4% for Orissa, 79.2% for UP and 96% for Kerala. For females, it is 53.3% compared to 64.4% in Orissa and 59.3% in UP.

Interestingly, the state of Bihar is the most well represented state in all the major National entrance-exams in India — including the IIT-JEE and the Civil Services Exam.

It has also made impressive strides in increasing the literacy rates during the last decade, including a 20 percentage point jump in female literacy. However, because of the low base and a burgeoning population, much of its achievements has been statistically diluted.

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