The latest census of India shows wide variations in state-level population growth rates, even though all states barring Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu have shown a slowing down of growth. Three states – Nagaland, Delhi and Sikkim – have shown the steepest fall in decadal population growth rate, which is between 5-16 times the decline in the all-India growth.
Nagaland leads the way with a decline of as much as 65 percentage points. After having grown by a strong 64.5% in 2001, census 2011 reported a decline in Naga population growth by 0.5%. The decline is, of course, on a large base, a census claim that had been subsequently rejected by the Naga government, leading to a more appropriate census survey in the latest round.
A strong base effect can also explain the decline in the growth rates of Delhi and Sikkim. While Delhi has observed a 26 percentage point decline, the figure is at 21 percent for Sikkim. It is interesting to note though, that even with a sharp dip in population growth for Delhi, the 2011 growth at 21% is still above the all-India growth. Fall in Delhi’s fertility rates as well as rehabilitation of slums are seen as reasons for this trend.
Nagaland, Delhi and Sikkim are really exceptions though. A look beyond these three states with a sharp deceleration in growth shows that it is not quite as alarming there on. Haryana has seen the fourth sharpest drop at a more modest 8.5 percentage points, followed by Goa and Rajasthan at 7 percentage points each.