Who estimates the poverty line in India?

The people of India

Every sixth person on earth is an Indian. This makes India the country with the second largest population in the world. Currently about 1.21 billion people live in the South Asian country. Over the past ten years the number of people in India has increased by 17.6 percent, or 181 million Indians. The current growth is 15 million people per year, which corresponds to 1.4 percent. No country in the world is growing at such a rapid rate.

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The population is only surpassed by the People's Republic of China, which is the state with the largest population in the world with around 1.34 billion people. But in less than ten years, namely 2020, there will probably be more people living in India than in China, and then the largest democracy will also be the most populous country on our planet.

India is very densely populated. While the European Union has an average of 116 people per square kilometer, India has 382 people. The rapid growth is evident when you consider that at the beginning of the 19th century there were only about 77 people per Indian square kilometer.

Population groups

People of various ethnic origins live in the multi-ethnic state of India. About 70 percent of the people are Indo-Aryans, 26 percent are Dravids, the majority of whom live in the south, and the rest of the people belong to different ethnic groups. In particular, the Tibetan-Burmese, Munda and Mon-Khmer peoples who live in the Himalayan region and in the north and east of India belong to these ethnic groups.
The indigenous peoples of India make up around 8.2 percent of the population. They call themselves Adivasi. Over 600 tribes are enshrined in the Indian constitution.

It is believed that around 20 million people who immigrated from Bangladesh are illegally living in India. Around 100,000 Tibetans in exile, who are recognized by the government as refugees in India, and around 60,000 refugees of Tamil descent from Sri Lanka belong to other population groups in India.

Social problems

The rapid growth of its population is not the only problem facing the South Asian state. Great poverty, illiteracy and the situation of Indian women are among the most serious challenges.

More than every fourth inhabitant of India lives below the poverty line. Many of the poor live in the so-called slums, the slums in the big cities. Over three dozen cities in India are inhabited by more than a million people. For example, over 16 million people live in the metropolis of Delhi, which also includes the capital New Delhi. The number of people living in cities is greater in India than in the United States or China.

India is still a country characterized by villages. 72.2 percent of the population lives in rural areas. The average age of the Indians is 24 years, around one in three is under 15 years old. Most Indians make a living by growing rice, raising animals and working in the fields.

The number of illiterate people in India is very high. The government estimates that 35 percent of Indians cannot read and write. If you only look at women, it is even 80 percent. If you look at the rate among women, only about every second woman can read and write. But promoting education among Indian women would also counteract India's strong population growth.

There are only 586 million women for every 624 million men in India. Aborting female fetuses is very common in India. Therefore, the government has already stepped in and has forbidden to inform parents of the gender of their unborn child during pregnancy. The killing of female descendants has resulted in a female population deficit in much of India.

Since the middle of the 20th century, the government has been promoting the use of contraceptives, which have since been increasingly used, especially in urban areas. But children are still often conceived until two male descendants are born. In addition, children in India are considered to be good retirement provisions. However, the birth rate has fallen sharply in the last few decades.


The languages ​​in India are as diverse as the population groups. Hundreds of languages ​​and dialects are spoken in India. The official languages ​​of India are Hindi and English, and 21 other languages ​​are anchored in the constitution. Above all, however, Hindi is spoken; about 40 percent of the population speak Hindi. Between 7 and 8 percent speak the languages ​​Telugu, Bengali, Marathi and Tamil. 4 to 5.5 percent speak Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada and Malayam. Oriya and Punjabi are spoken by 3 to 3.5 percent of Indians. In addition to these, there are tons of other languages ​​in India.


Religion is very important in India. The majority of Indians feel they belong to Hinduism, namely 82.4 percent. This is followed by Islam with 11.7 percent and Christianity with 2.3 percent. Only slightly fewer people, namely 2.0 percent, profess Sikhism and 0.8 percent profess the religion of Buddhism. Jainism includes 0.4 percent of the Indian population. About 120,000 Parsees and 30,000 Jews also live in India.

The Hindu caste system continues to influence Indian society to this day. From birth one belongs to one of the approximately 3000 castes nowadays, which affects all areas of an individual's life. Originally there were only four hierarchically ordered boxes.

© ralf werner froelich - Fotolia.com

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