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Literacy Rate of India Jumps 10% in a Decade
Dec 02, 2014

While India has shown considerable improvement in literacy levels in the last 10 years, one in 10 households still doesn't have even a single literate member, shows the Census 2011 data. On the other hand, more than one-third of the households in the country have at least four literate members above the age of seven. According to the data on literacy released:

  • India has 24.88 crore households out of which 9.56 crore (38.42%) have at least four members who know to read and write.

  • But there are also 2.42 crore households (9.74 percent) which don't have even one literate among its members. In comparison, as per the 2001 census, 35.28 percent of the households had at least four literate members and 14.4 percent had none.

  • India has an effective literacy rate (among people aged 7 years and above) of 74 percent, a marked improvement from 2001, when the literacy was just 64.84 percent.

  • In rural areas, the rate is lower at about 68 percent while in urban areas it is 84 percent.


Some Facts:

  • Total no. of households: 24.88 crore

  • Without a literate member: 2.42 crore

  • With 1 literate member: 3.09 crore

  • Literate members: 5.14 crore

  • literate members: 4.65 crore

  • Literate members or more: 9.56 crore


Overall literacy has gone up due to schemes like Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and higher enrolment in schools in the last 10 years. Prior to this many did not have a chance to enter a school, especially in remote areas.

  • In rural areas, out of the total 16.82 crore households, 5.80 crore (34.51 percent) have at least four literate members each.

  • 2.04 crore (12.17 percent) households which don't have even one literate member.

  • 7.30 lakh households with more than seven members and none of them literate. Majority of such households are in rural areas.


Households without even a single literate member must be in tribal areas and among migrant labourers. In these areas, not many are aware of schools and there are no schools for the younger ones to join. While the rural households without any literate member must be in isolated areas like mountainous regions, in urban areas they consist of migrant labourers working in brick kilns and at construction sites.

  • Among the big states, Bihar has the maximum number of households which don't have even one literate member. The state has 33.59 lakh (17.79 percent) households without a literate member.

  • Kerala, the most literate state in the country, has the least number of such households—

    1.21 lakh or 1.5 percent of the total household in the state.

    A household is a group of persons who normally live together and take their meals from a common kitchen, unless the exigencies of work prevent any of them from doing so.


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