As always, a year ahead of the actual headcount comes the provisional statistics of the census. It came last month. Limited to a few parameters, it gives the idea about the vital basics of society. The data is raw and can change once the final tabulations are over. Kashmir Life analysed the provisional data for the state of J&K.
Population: The data pegs J&K’s population at 12548926 – 6665561 males and 5883365 females. The last headcount in 2001 had put J&K’s population at 10143700 of which 5360926 were males and 4782774 were females. While in 2001 J&K was making 0.99 of India’s total population, as per the provisional data, it is making 1.04 per cent of India’s population in 2011.
Jammu continues to be the most populous city of the state with Srinagar playing second fiddle. While Shopian continues to be the less populous district in Kashmir – it still nears the population of two Ladakh districts, Kashmir now has three districts with more than a million population – Srinagar, Islamabad and Baramulla. Kishtwar is having the lowest population across the state outside Ladakh. Jammu lacks any town other than the temple city that has more than a million population. Jammu makes 42.68 per cent of the state’s population, Ladakh 2.31 per cent as the balance 55.03 is Kashmir.
Growth: Against the all India average of growing by 17.64 per cent, J&K has managed a growth rate of 23.71 per cent for the ten years ending March 2011. Kashmir region recorded the highest growth of 26.12 per cent followed by the Ladakh region’s growth of 18.57 per cent and the Jammu region increased by 17.2 per cent in ten years.
In absolute terms, J&K has compromised its growth rate by a whopping 5.72 per cent. It grew by 29.4 per cent in the decade ending 2001 making the annual exponential growth rate 2.61. In the following decade ending March 2011, J&K recorded a decade growth of 23.7 per cent that makes annual growth of 2.15 per cent. Absolute growth was 2306649 in last decade and it is 2405226 in this decade ending March 2011.
At the district level, it is south Kashmir Islamabad district that recorded the highest growth of 37.48 per cent followed by Kupwara with 34.62 per cent as Ramban finished third with 31 per cent. Interestingly it is the small Kulgam district that recorded the lowest growth of 7.3 per cent followed by Jammu with 12.48 per cent as Kargil finished third lowest with 20.18 per cent.
0-6 Age Group: It is this age group that offers an indication of fertility. In 2001, at the time of the headcount, 1485803 souls were counted in 0-6 year age group. In 2011 their number was 2008642 – 1080662 males and 927980 females. That essentially means in 2011 16.01 per cent of the population comprised of children. This age group has added 522839 members in a course of a decade.
In 2001 the children of this age group were making 14.65 of the total population – in males 14.28 per cent and females 15.06 per cent. A decade later in 2011, they constitute 16.01 per cent of the population including 16.21 per cent in males and 15.77 per cent in females. So the fertility is up by 1.36 in the total population. On a gender basis, it is up by 1.93 per cent in boys and 0.71 per cent in girls.
The provisional statistics suggests that J&K is perhaps the only state where there is no drop in infertility. All other states, for the first time, after a long time are showing clear signs of fertility getting down. The geographical spread of the decline is now spread across the country and the ‘North South’ demographic gap shows signs of narrowing down but J&K continues to remain an exception.
Interestingly, it is the frontier district of Kupwara that had a massive impact on overall demography especially the work culture because of the security situation in the last 20 years which is reacting in vengeance. It is leading all the districts across India in having the highest population in the 0-6 years age group. Kupwara is India’s No 1 fertile district. It has 22.50 per cent of its population falling in the 0.6 category that is the main barometer of fall or rise in fertility of a population.
This parameter is a key indicator of the state of the fertility of a particular society. So it is Kupwara that is the most fertile society in Kashmir because it is witnessing a baby boom. In census 2001, J&K had 14.64 per cent of its population falling in 0-6 year age group at the time of headcount. Interestingly it was the tehsil of Uri that had the highest percentage of 0-6 years age group – 20.72 per cent.
It is Budgam that plays the second fiddle to Kupwara. Districts with the lowest percentage of the population in 0-6 years of age are Leh with 8.03 followed by Jammu with 10.47.
J&K’s has 10540284 people living in the age groups above seven years – 5584899 are males and 4955385 females.
However, what is disturbing is the state of sex ratio in the new generation that falls in the 0-6 years category. Kashmir has witnessed a massive fall by 132 per 1000 in 10 years which is unprecedented in recent history. Pulwama is actually ruling the state with the lowest sex ratio in this category. There is not a single district where the sex ratio would have improved in last 10 years. All 22 districts fall under various degrees of gender criticality.
Of J&K’s 22 districts, there is not a single place, which has not eaten up part of its sex ratio in the last 10 years. In fact, seven of Kashmir’s 10 districts are exhibiting a fall varying from 121 to 210 per thousand as compared to the 2001 census. Two Jammu districts that ad their sex ratio less than 800 in 2001 are still on the critical list.
“Our job was to find out the trends and the numbers,” Farooq Ahmad, Director Census Operations J&K said, adding, “To analyse why a particular thing is happening is the domain of social scientists, researchers and the media.”
Sex Ratio: The number of females per 1000 of males is the sex ratio and it offers the idea of a balanced population. J&K, as per the provisional data, has a sex ratio of 883 which is much below the all India average of 940.
In the last census, the sex ratio of J&K was 892. This has plunged J&K to the No 2 status in the bottom of the all India states list with the lowest sex ratio. J&K has lost 9 points in 10 years. Haryana is No 1 with the lowest sex ratio of 877 with J&K playing second fiddle with 883. This has happened at a time when states with historically low sex ratio – Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Chandigarh – have shown an appreciable increase in the sex ratio. They had been identified as gender critical states requiring special attention and intervention but now they are out of the list.
It is on this front that J&K has bagged a dubious distinction, a slur. The provisional data suggest that Leh in India’s No 1 district where the sex ratio is the lowest – 583. The sex ratio means the number of females available per thousand males. This has got J&K state into the bottom of the list in Indian states as far as sex ratio goes.
Leh having almost two males for every female raises more questions than answers. This is the particular belt where polyandry – one wife, many husbands, was in vogue till it was formally banned. But the last census offered no idea that the females are simply going to disappear from the desert region. 2001 census put this ratio in Leh at 823 but somehow indicated the trend. Then, the sex ratio is rural areas was 904 while as the urban areas had only 611.
The infection seems to have been contracted by the Leh periphery. Interestingly, the sex ratio in the 0-6 age group was just the routine – 955. So where are the females going? Though some of the urban centres are showing a below-average sex ratio – which seems directly related to the availability of sex determination tests being conducted clandestinely, there were three critical areas detected by the 2001 census – Jammu city, Gurez (now Bandipore district) and Karnah (Kupwara). Jammu had a serious crisis as its adult sex ratio was 652 and its sex ratio is 0-6 age group was 817. Gurez had 711 and Karnah 797. But insiders said there is no panic on Leh front because the sex ratio has got phenomenally low because of the security forces presence. Census 2011 has counted everybody who existed in a geographic entity (read J&K) during February 9 to February 28, 2011.
Literacy: J&K has a population of 7245053 literates which means the literacy rate is 68.74 per cent. There are 4370604 literate males and 2874449 females which means the literacy rate for males is 78.26 per cent and for females is 58.01 per cent. In 2001 the literacy rate of J&K was 55.52 per cent. In ten years J&K has lost two points in all India rating.
In 2001 J&K was at rank 30 and now it is pushed to rank 32 – in male population at rank no 31 and for female population rank no 32. It is the only state is north India that has a below-average literacy rate. The national average is 74.04 per cent. J&K has been able to add only 2437767 persons to its literate population in a decade that saw an overall increase of 13.22 per cent over the 2001 literate population.
Though the gaps is narrowing down, it still would require a lot of effort to get the female at par. In 2001, the gap in the literacy rate of male (66.60 per cent) and female (43 per cent) was 23.60 per cent. In 2011, this gap is at 20.25 per cent with male literacy rate at 78.26 per cent and that of females at 58.01 per cent. The decade appreciation in the literacy rate on a general basis suggests that there are more females going to school than boys. The variation is 11.66 per cent in males and 15.01 per cent in females. On the basis of districts, it is Jammu that has the highest literacy rate followed by Samba as Leh and Kargil take the remaining two slots, respectively. Srinagar has the sixth rank in 22 districts!! The second Kashmir district that is closer is Baramulla at rank no 10 in the state!!