Jains According to 2001 Census


By Mr. Jayakumar Anagol


In an earlier article, I have drawn the attention of Jains to the prevalence of foeticide of females and the immediate need to stop it. In this article interesting statistics about the Jain Community are given. There are only 42,25,053 Jains in the total population of India of 102.86 crores. It means that there is one Jain among 243 Indians. Though so less in the numbers. Jains are to be found in 34 out of 35 states and union territories. The only union territory without Jains is Lakshdweep. The least number of Jains, 24, are found in Andman and Nicobar Islands. Less than 1000 Jains are living in Sikkim (183), Arunachala Pradesh (216), Mizoram (179), Tripura (471), Meghalaya (772), Daman and Diu (261), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (864), Goa (821) and Pondicherry (952). The states having a population of 1000 to 10,000 are Jammu and Kashmir (25181), Himachal Pradesh (1408), Chandigarh (1481), Orissa (9154) and Kerala (4528). The states with population exceeding 10,000 and below one lakh are Punjab (39,276) Haryana (57,167), Bihar (16,065), Assam (23,957), West Bengal (55,223), Jkharkand(16,301), Andhra Pradesh (41,843) and Tamilnadu (83,355).

The States having more than one lakh Jains are only seven and they are :


i) Maharashtra 13,01,842
ii) Rajasthan 6,50,493
iii) Madhya Pradesh 5,45,448
iv) Gujarat 5,25,306
v) Karnataka 4,12,654
vi) Uttar Pradesh 2,07,111
vii)  Delhi 1,55,122


Maharashtra has the distinction of having the largest number of Jains in the country. The states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. which are touching one another and which are mostly in western part of India together have Jain population of 34,35,743 out of total population of Jains of 42,25,053, which amounts to 82 percent of the Jain population of the whole county. The state of Jharkhand, which contains the holiest of holy pilgrimage centre of Samyed Sikharji and is the birthplace of Jains, is reduced to having a population of only 16,301 Jains. Even if we ignore the division of former Bihar into the two states of Bihar and Jharkhand, the total Jain population of these two states is still only 32, 3661. This is a great tragedy.

A matter of great pride brought out by the religious census data is that among all religions, the literacy percentage of Jains is the hightest at 94% as seen from the table below.


Literacy percentage By Religion, 2001


Sl. No.


Total Population
(Male + Female)



1. Hindus  65.1 76.1 53.2
2. Muslims 59.1 67.6 50.1
3. Christians 80.3 84.4 76.2
4. Sikhs 69.4 75.2 63.1
5. Buddhists 72.7 83.1  61.7
6. Jains 94.1 97.4 90.6


The remarkable achievement of Jains is that their literacy is highest both among males as well as females and their percentage of literacy is 14% more than even of Christians who are famous for their progress in the educational field.

One important reason why Jains are ahead of all other religions in literacy is because Jains also have the distinction of the only religious community where majority are residing in urban areas. Out of the total population of India of 100.86 crores, 74.2 crores live in rural areas and only 28.6 crores live in urban areas. Among Jains, on the other hand, 32 lakhs live in urban areas as against only 10 lakh in rural areas. However only in Karnataka 1,93,958 Jains live in urban areas as against 2,18,901 living in rural areas. That is the reason why the literacy rate of Jains in Karnataka is only 84.3 percent, lowest among the Jains of all states in the country.

In my opinion, another aspect where the Jain community has to reform itself is in the work participation ratio of women. Though I have been born as a Digambar Jain I appreciate the total equality propounded by Shwetambar Jains, in that even a women has found place directly (without first being born as man) as a Tirthankar. It is only by coming out of the four walls of the house and participating in the Economic, Social and Cultural life in the outside world that a woman can develop her total personality. Work participation ratio for males and females demonstrates that while Jain men are at the top with 55.2%, Jain women are at the bottom of work participation with a miserable 9.2% ratio as seen from the following table.


Work Participation by Men and Women, by religion (Percent)


Sl. No.

Religion Males Females
1. Hindus 52,4 27.4
2. Muslims 47.5 14.1
3. Christians 50.7 28.7
4. Sikhs 53.3 20.2
5. Buddhists 49.2 31.7
6. Jains 55.2 9.2


The earlier Jains encourage their women to get higher education and enable them to take part in economic, social and cultural activities in the wide world and get them also the first rank in work participation as the have already attained in literacy, the better of it will be.



Author: Mr. Jayakumar Anagol, I. A. S. (Retd.)
109, VI Main Road, M. C. Layout, Vijayanagar, Bangalore-560040
Tele : 23356766, E-Mail : jkanagol@yahoo.com


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