Browse the information below for demographic information on India, including population,
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Nationality: Noun and adjective--Indian(s).
Population (2003 est.): 1.05 billion; urban 27.8%.
Annual growth rate: 1.6%.
Density: 319/sq. km.
Ethnic groups: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid 2%, others.
Religions: Hindu 81.3%, Muslim 12%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other groups including Buddhist, Jain, Parsi 2.5%.
Languages: Hindi, English, and 16 other official languages.
Education: Years compulsory--9 (to age 14). Literacy--55.2%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--61/1,000. Life expectancy--63 years.
Work force (est.): 39.2%416 million. Agriculture--63%; industry and commerce--22%; services and government--11%; transport and communications--4%.
People of India
Although India occupies only 2.4% of the world's land area, it supports over 15% of the world's population. Only China has a larger population. Almost 33% of Indians are younger than 15 years of age. About 70% of the people live in more than 550,000 villages, and the remainder in more than 200 towns and cities. Over thousands of years of its history, India has been invaded from the Iranian plateau, Central Asia, Arabia, Afghanistan, and the West; Indian people and culture have absorbed and changed these influences to produce a remarkable racial and cultural synthesis.
Religion, caste, and language are major determinants of social and political organization in India today. The government has recognized 18 languages as official; Hindi is the most widely spoken.
Although 81% of the people are Hindu, India also is the home of more than 126 million Muslims--one of the world's largest Muslim populations. The population also includes Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and Parsis.
The caste system reflects Indian occupational and religiously defined hierarchies. Traditionally, there are four broad categories of castes (varnas), including a category of outcastes, earlier called "untouchables" but now commonly referred to as "dalits." Within these broad categories there are thousands of castes and subcastes, whose relative status varies from region to region. Despite economic modernization and laws countering discrimination against the lower end of the class structure, the caste system remains an important source of social identification for most Hindus and a potent factor in the political life of the country.