Almost two-thirds of Punjab’s population still resides in its villages, even as there is a 3.57 per cent climb over the past decade in the share of number of people living in the towns and cities of the primarily agrarian state, according to the latest head count exercise. The provisional totals of Census 2011 shows the state’s population as 27,704,236, of which 17,316,800 (62.51% ) are rural and 10,387,436 (37.49%) urban. As for literacy, the percentage in the urban population is 76.68 now, which is a shade less than the case in rural areas: 77.92.
While the growth rate of population in rural areas is 7.78%, the percentage growth of urban population is 25.72 in 2011, the state’s Census Operations said on Sunday. Thus the growth rate of population in urban areas is more than three times of that of the rural growth, pointed out Seema Jain, Director, Census Operations (Punjab), while releasing the district-level provisional totals on the state’s rural-urban distribution of population.
That said, the state has shown a skewed growth in its urban population. For, almost a half (49.12%) of the state’s urban population is concentrated in four districts: Ludhiana (with its 59.14% people living in towns and cities), Amritsar (53.64%), Jalandhar (53.18%) and Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar (55.17%). In other words, “every fifth (19.86%) urban dweller in Punjab is residing in Ludhiana district,” the official said. SAS Nagar (55.17) is the state’s second most urbanised district.
The literacy rate in the state has increased from 69.65 per cent in 2001 to 76.68 in 2011. Rural literacy for males has increased from 71.05 per cent in 2001 to 77.92 per cent in 2011 which is an increase of 6.87 per cent and literacy rate for females has increased from 57.72 per cent in 2001 to 66.47 in 2011. Similarly, urban literacy for males has increased from 83.05 per cent in 2001 to 87.28 per cent in 2011 registering an increase of 4.23 per cent and that of females has increased from 74.49 per cent in 2001 and 79.62 in 2011 recording an increase of 5.13 per cent during this decade.
Ludhiana and Amritsar districts account for one-third (32.72%) of the total urban population of the state. The border Tarn Taran is the least urbanised (12.63%) district. During this decade, the urban population in SAS Nagar district has nearly doubled (90.03%). It has improved its rank from 10th in 2001 to 7th in 2011 in terms of percentage of urban population in total population.
The rural sex ratio has increased by 16 points, while the corresponding increase in urban sex ration is of 23 points during 2001-11. The child sex ratio in age group 0-6 years in rural areas of Punjab has increased by 44 points while the corresponding increase in urban areas is of 55 points during this decade.
The increase in rural literacy rate for males and females during this decade being more than their urban counterpart signifies a further reduction in the male-female literacy gap, both in both areas.