The decennial Census of India has been conducted 16 times, as of 2021. While it has been undertaken every 10 years, beginning in 1872 under British Viceroy Lord Mayo, the first complete census was taken in 1881. Post 1949, it has been conducted by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. All the censuses since 1951 were conducted under the 1948 Census of India Act , which predates the Constitution of India. The 1948 Census of India Act does not bind the Union Government to conduct the Census on a particular date or to release its data in a notified period. The last census was held in 2011, whilst the next was to be held in 2021. But it has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
Historically, there has been a long time between collection of data and dissemination of data. The taking of Census was a regular process in the Mauryan administration. The village officials (Gramika) and municipal officials (Nagarika) were responsible for enumerating different classes of people in the Mauryan empire such as traders, agriculturists, smiths, potters, carpenters etc., and also cattle, mostly for taxation purposes. These vocations consolidated as castes, a feature of Indian society that continues to influence the Indian politics till today.
Census of India during British Rule
List of censuses conducted in India before independence:
- 1872 Census of India
- 1881 Census of India
- 1891 Census of India
- 1901 Census of India
- 1911 Census of India
- 1921 Census of India
- 1931 Census of India
- 1941 Census of India
Census of Republic of India
List of censuses conducted in India after independence:
- 1951 Census of India
- 1961 Census of India
- 1971 Census of India
- 1981 Census of India
- 1991 Census of India
- 2001 Census of India
- 2011 Census of India
- 2021 Census of India
- Demographics of India
- List of states and union territories of India by population
- List of cities in India by population
- List of towns in India by population
- List of million-plus urban agglomerations in India
- List of states in India by past population
- List of states and union territories of India by sex ratio
- List of Indian states and union territories by literacy rate
- "Where Are India's 2011 Census Figures on Religion?". blogs.wsj.com.
- "The delay in the decennial Census".
- "Government likely to postpone census to 2022". The Hindu. May 11, 2021.
- Goswami, P. R. (1989-09-01). "The Census of India: A discussion of issues of data collection and dissemination". Government Publications Review. 16 (5): 429–438. doi:10.1016/0277-9390(89)90072-1. ISSN 0277-9390.
- "The politics behind the caste census in Bihar".
- Media related to Censuses in India at Wikimedia Commons