Population by Religious Community, the report based on findings from India’s 2011 Census, was released on Tuesday by the office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India and it threw up some intriguing facts.

A representational image of a census official marking a house after collecting details from a village resident. Reuters

A representational image of a census official marking a house after collecting details from a village resident. Reuters

Among the more interesting aspects of this report is the fact that Christians are the only community (among major religions) in India that has more women members than men. The ratio of men to women actually improved from 1,009 females for ever 1,000 males in 2001, to 1,023:1,000 in 2011.

However, this 1.4 percent increase of females per male is not even the biggest one over the past decade.

The Muslim community saw a 1.5 percent increase in the ratio of females to males (from 936:1,000 in 2001 to 951:1,000 in 2011), and the overall Indian average was a 1% improvement in sex ratio. Meanwhile, the Hindu community saw the lowest increase (from 931:1,000 to 939:1,000) at only 0.8 percent.

Even in terms of population growth, the rate of increase among females was higher across all communities than that of males.

Over the past decade, the total percentage of Hindus that make up the country’s population dropped below 80 percent for the first time, to 79.8 percent in 2011. At the same time, the Muslim community saw a population increase 24.6 percent, which represents the community accounting for an additional 0.8 percent of Indian population than in 2001. Meanwhile, the percentage that Sikhs make up in the population of India actually declined from 1.9 in 2001 percent to 1.7 percent in 2011.

This may be explained by the fact that the Sikh community has seen negative population growth in seven states: West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and Jharkhand. Over the same period, Buddhists — who accounted for 0.77 percent of India’s population in 2001 and 0.7 percent in 2011 — saw negative population growth in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. The biggest decline was experienced by the Muslim community, the population of which dropped by 34.5 percent in the state of Gujarat.

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Another feature highlighted by the report was the difference between India’s rural and urban demographic profiles. In 2011, Hindus accounted for 75 percent of urban-dwelling Indians, and 83 percent of rural-dwelling Indians. Conversely, the Muslim community, which accounts for 13 percent of rural India, makes up 18 percent of urban India.

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Religion in numbers: What 2011 Census told us about trends across India’s communities