Bengaluru getting crowded as never, literacy peaking

In the last ten years, Bangalore (urban) district’s population density has increased by about 147%, according to provisional data from the Census 2011. While the population density – number of people per sq km for the district – was 2,985 in 2001, now it is 4,378.

Compare this with Dakshin Kannada, the second most densely populated district. DK’s population density is only 457, about one-tenth that of Bangalore. Though population density has increased to a small extent in almost all districts, the average population density for the state itself is only 319. Kodagu has the lowest population density at 135.

Among all districts, population growth is also highest for Bangalore. While the state’s total population grew by 15.7% in the last decade, Bangalore’s population grew by 46.7%. From 6.5 million in 2001, Bangalore’s population has now grown to 9.5 million. It is the most populated district in Karnataka, contributing to 15.7% of the state’s population. (Karnataka’s total population is 61.1 million now).

High growth rate is not unprecedented for Bangalore though. Population growth was at its peak in 1941-51 (69.8%) and 1971-81 (59%).

For the state itself, the rate of population growth had slowed down – from 17.5% growth in 1991-2001 to 15.7% in 2001-2011.

In terms of absolute population, Bangalore is followed by Belgaum (4.7 million people), Mysore (2.9 mln) and Tumkur (2.6 mln).

Children (those aged 0-6 years) form about 10% of Bangalore’s total population. In Karnataka, total child population is around 11%.

Sex Ratio

Adult sex ratio for Bangalore has remained the same as 2001 – 908 females per 1000 males. This is the lowest in the state and lags far behind the state average of 968. Bangalore Rural (district) comes second at 945 – this is also the same as in 2001.

All other districts have sex ratios above 950; their ratios have increased or remained the same as in 2001, except Udupi, DK and Kolar. Udupi has the highest sex ratio (1,093) in the state, though it has decreased compared to the 2001 ratio (1,130). DK and Kolar have seen only marginal decrease in sex ratios.

But when it comes to Child Sex Ratio (CSR) – i.e., sex ratio for the age group of 0-6 years – Bangalore is not left far behind. While the state average CSR is 943, for Bangalore it is around 941. Districts like Kodagu, Hassan and Chikmagalur have high CSRs – 976, 964 and 963 respectively.

Bangalore’s adult sex ratio was highest in 1901 (982). It progressively decreased over the decades, reaching as low as 886 in 1971. After this, the ratio started trending upwards. The same trend can be seen for the state too – the highest recorded sex ratio was 983 in 1901. After decreasing over the decades, the lowest ratio was recorded in 1971 (957), after which it has been increasing slowly.


Literacy rate for Bangalore has increased by about 6% compared to 2001. Now at 88.48%, Bangalore’s literacy rate is second only to Dakshina Kannada (88.6%). The state average is 75.6%.

In Bangalore, improvement in literacy is mainly accounted for by women – female literacy increased by 7% compared to 2001 and is now 84.8%. This is the highest in female literacy among all districts. Male literacy has increased by 4% compared to 2001, but at 91.82% it is second to DK (93.3%). State average for male and female literacy is 82.8% and 68.1% respectively.

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About Navya P K 317 Articles
Navya has 12 years of experience in journalism, covering development, urban governance and environment. She was earlier Senior Journalist, Citizen Matters, and Reporter, The New Indian Express. She has also freelanced for publications such as The News Minute, Factor Daily and India Together. Navya won the All India Environment Journalism Award, 2013, for her investigative series on the environmental violations of an upcoming SEZ in Bengaluru, published in Citizen Matters. She also won the PII-UNICEF fellowship in 2016 to report on child rights in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Navya has an MA in Political Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, and a PG Diploma from the Asian College of Journalism.