4

Demographic Changes in India

S. Irudaya Rajan and Sabu Aliyar

4.1 Introduction

With more than a billion citizens, India is the second most populous nation in the world after China, with an annual growth rate of 2 per cent. Each year, India adds more people to the world’s population than any other country. About three-quarters of India’s population are of Indo-Aryan origin. Smaller percentages are of the Dravidian or the Mongol descent. The Indian population is predominantly Hindu (81.4 per cent), and Muslims (12.4 per cent), Christians (2.3 per cent), Sikhs (1.9 per cent), Buddhists (0.8 per cent) and Jains (0.4 per cent) represent the minority religions. The fertility rate is declining—by half at present since the mid-1960s—but the population ...

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