Making Sense Of Jammu & Kashmir Census 2011 Numbers

Sanjeev Nayyar

Oct 05, 2015, 03:26 AM | Updated Apr 29, 2016, 12:33 PM IST

The recent release of census figures has opened a virtual Pandora’s box. Some are analyzing the census figures according to their perceptions while some are trying to defend apparent changes in demography and percentage of population for no rational reason. Figures are cold statistics, but they do have a subtext.

In this article, I wish to focus on demographic changes in Jammu & Kashmir since independence.

Table 1 – Change in demography vs. change in voters   Numbers in Lakhs

Region@2001 Census2011Census 2002Assembly Voters2008Assembly Voters2014Lok SabhaVoters




Ladakh  2.37  2.74 1.74  1.59




In article Kashmir Valley is referred to as Kashmir, Jammu Region as Jammu, Ladakh Region as Ladakh.

Between 2001 and 2011 the State’s population went up by 23.6% whilst the number of voters between 2002 and 2014 went up by 14%.

In absolute terms population in Kashmir between 2001 and 2011 went up by 14.11 lakhs (25.8%) whilst increase in number of voters between 2002 and 2014 was by 24.7% (7.12 lakhs). Corresponding figures for Jammu are 21% and 5%.

Note that in 2002, the number of voters in Jammu were more than Kashmir by 1.41 lakhs. In 2014, Kashmir exceeds Jammu by 4.21 lakhs i.e. a swing of 5.67 lakhs.

Let us now delve into the state’s population by region and religion for the period 1951-2011. The religion column is divided into two: the followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism clubbed together, and Muslims.

Table 2 – Population Profile ofJ&K by region (excludes areas under unlawful occupation by China and Pakistan)      Nos in Thousands

RegionSq Kms1951196119711981199120012011
1. Kashmir15,9481,7131,8992,4363,135NA5,4776,888
2. Jammu26,2931,4591,5722,076 2,718NA4,4305,379
3. Ladakh59,146    82    90   105     134NA    237    274
4Total Population101,3873,2543,5614,6175,9877,71910,14412,541
% Incr in Pop
5.India21.724.824.623.921.5   17.7
6.State 93030293124
Pop divided into    
9.% Hindus-Buddhists-Jains-Sikhs29.931.63435.6733.6432.8331.40
10.% Muslims7068.365.8464.1966.1966.9768.31


Note– There is no Census data for 1951 and 1991. The 1951 and 1991 data in the book are only interpolated figures between actual census values before and after. Figures in red indicate increase in population as compared to the previous year. Row five is ‘India’ so that you can compare growth rates in population of country with J&K.  

A analysis of numbers shows-


  • From census ending 1971-2001, average population growth in J&K was approximately 30%, dropping to 24% in 2011. Corresponding figures for Kashmir are 29% dropping to 26% in 2011 and for Jammu, 31% dropping to 21% in 2011.
  • The % growth in Jammu population post 1991 would actually be lower than 21% since some part of the migrated Kashmir population, post 1990 genocide, must be residing in Jammu. Due to migration within and outside the state, the % growth in Kashmir’s population should have been lower but it grew by 26%.
  • Census figures show that the difference between population of Jammu and Kashmir has in a way disproportionately increased in the two decades between 1981 and 2001 (251 % over 2 census periods ie over 100% per decade) and 2001 and 2011(44%). It was 2,54,000 in 1951, 3,27,000 in 1961, 3,60,000 in 1971, 4,17,000 in 1981, 10,47,000 in 2001 and 15,09,000 in 2011. Note that difference between two regions increased by 44% between 2001 and 2011 i.e. post outbreak of insurgency in 1989 as compared to 16% between 1971 and 1981.
  • If we were to compare population in absolute numbers between 1981 and 2011, population in Jammu increased by 26.61 lakhs whilst that of Kashmir by 37.53 lakhs. Jammu’s numbers include approximately, those 3 lakh people who migrated from Kashmir, so the differential increase in Kashmir’s population was actually 13.9 lakhs. Looking at the national population growth rate (see row 5 in table), the data puts a question mark on the Census Organization? 
  • Population of Kashmir as a percentage of the state’s population increased by 3% between 1981 and 2011. It was 52% in 1981, 54% in 2001 and 55% in 2011.
  • Comparing 2001 and 2011, population of Kashmir went up by 14,11,000 or by 26% and of Jammu by 9,49,000 or by 21%.
  • Muslim population in J&K has increased in every decade. It was 64% of the total population in 1981, 67% in 2001 and 68% in 2011. Correspondingly population of Indian born Religions has fallen i.e. 36% (before start of insurgency), 33% and 31%.
  • Between 1981 and 2011 population of Muslims as a % of total population increased by 4.12% whilst that of Indian born Religions fell by 4.27%.  
  • For 2001-11, the same figure was an increase of 1.34% for Muslims, and a decrease of 1.43% for Indian born Religions.
  • Considering Kashmir is 61% of Jammu’s area, abnormal increase in number of voters raises questions!!

How did Kashmir’s population increase by 14,11,000 in 10 years from 2001 to 2011 is a million dollar question. Was there a co-relation between the 75% increase in Kashmir’s population between 1981 to 2001 and spurt in militancy during this period?

Whether the increase was due to higher fertility rates, because of those who crossed the border under Resettlement Plan or inflated numbers is unknown.

Next is a brief background on allocation of assembly seats between regions.

No census data was available in 1951 to decide the basis for single member assembly segments (electoral districts) in the constituent assembly of J&K. As per available information it has been claimed that by method of proportions, 100 seats were assumed for whole of J&K (including 25 for Pakistan Occupied J&K). This assumed a population of 40 lakhs in 1941 ie 40,000 per seat.

However, after the disturbances in October 1947 and using 1941 census data, only 30 seats were given to Jammu implying that one seat was kept for every 60,000 people of Jammu by the ‘Delimitation Committee’. Corresponding figure for Kashmir was 43 seats making it one seat per 40,000 people.

Whereas on simple population basis (1941 proportions) there could have been  around 36 to 37 seats distributed over Jammu and only around 35 to 36 seats in Kashmir.

Unlike other Indian State and as per J&K Representation of the People Act of 1957, population is just one of the parameters for deciding the number of seats in the J&K Legislative Assembly, others being geographical compactness, nature of terrain, facilities for communication and like factors.  

Going by these parameters Jammu should have got more seats, hence the basis on which 43 seats were given to Kashmir and 30 to Jammu in 1951 is questionable. Maybe it was to ensure that Kashmir exercises administrative control over the State.

 Even after the J&K Representation of the People Act 1957 had come in force, the J&K Delimitation Commission in 1994 appears to have unfairly distributed the Single member assembly segments only on the basis of population figures i.e. in the proportion of 27.18 and 31.34 (37 Seats to Jammu and 46 Seats to Kashmir). 

Evaluation of population and voter numbers gives a feeling that something is amiss! Who will demystify these numbers to ascertain the actual number of people and voters.


  1. @Census numbers prior to 2011 taken from Religious Demography of India by Dr M D Srinivas, A Joshi and Dr J K Bajaj.
  2. 2011 numbers from Census.

Also read

  1. Jammu: A road less travelled 
  2. E book ‘All you wanted to know about the Kashmir problem’  
  3. Delimitation and Population 

The writer is an independent columnist, travel photojournalist and chartered accountant, and founder of eSamskriti. He tweets at @sanjeev1927.

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