Human Geography for UPSC and Other Competitive Exams

Human geography (or anthropogeography) refers to a specialized branch of geography that studies the interrelationships between people across multiple levels. In other words, human geography studies the impact of factors such as environment, population politics, socio-cultural logistics, and economics on people.

As a well-reputed discipline, human geography concretizes the notion that we, as humans, exist in dependence on different Spatio-temporal facets. This article describes these elements and places us amid their transforming scenarios.

The article discusses the fundamental aspects of human geography in the Indian context. It illustrates topics such as census and demography in detail.

Human Geography

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Indian Census

Indian census denotes the largest statistical collection of the population in the country. It classifies the population on various factors such as demography, economics, anthropology, statistics, and sociology.

The first census in India was conducted in the year 1872. And from then onwards, this process is conducted once in every decade.

The government passed the Census Act of 1948 regarding the duties and responsibilities of the census officers. The Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India is responsible to conduct census.

To conduct an unbiased census procedure, the Indian population has specific questionnaires. These questions include the number of people in their family, their ages, gender, job profiles, etc. It also comprises questions on marital status, caste, religion, and other particular details.

Indian Demography

Demography denotes the statistical study of population, age, birth, and death rates in order to project the dynamicity of the human population.

The below charts updated details on Indian demography:


Total PopulationYearly ChangeGlobal ShareGlobal Rank 
  • Further to the above, the Sex Ratio of India is 108.176, i.e., 108.176 males per 100 females in 2020.
  • In rural areas, there are 949 females to 1000 men, while in urban areas there are 929 females to 1000 males.
  • Rural India has 21,813,264 more males and urban India has 13,872,275 more males than females.
  • As of 2020, India has more males than females until 64-69 age group and there are 10 more males per 100 females until 34-69 age group
  • Above 25-29 age, the female population keeps improving and there are almost double the number of women than men above 100 years.
  • Kerala has the highest sex ratio of 1084 females to 1000 males
  • Haryana has the lowest sex ratio of 879 females per 1000 males.
  • Among union territories, Puducherry has the highest sex ratio of 1037 and Daman & Diu has the lowest sex ratio of 618.
  • The total fertility rate in India is 2.2%
Total Life Expectancy (in years)In Males (in years)In Females (in years)
  • The Infant mortality rate in the country is 26.6 (per 1000 live births)
  • The death rate under the age of 5 years is 32.9 (per 1000 live births)

The Population Density (422 per square km) in Indian states is as follows:

12Navi Mumbai2,600,000
  • India is a land of 29 states and 7 union territories. Their populations ranging massively in size – the largest, Uttar Pradesh has a population of 200 million people. The smallest state, Sikkim, just over half a million.
  • India is expected to reach its peak population of 1.65 billion people by 2060
  • 83% of 20-24 years of age are literate, compared to only 43% of 65-69-year-old people.

Indian Demography based on religion is as follows:

ReligionNumber of followersPercentage of total population
Hinduism1,114,471,47079.8 %
Islam198,314,47214.2 %
Christianity32,121,3582.3 %
Sikhism23,741,8731.7 %
Buddhism9,776,0660.7 %
Other18,155,5501.3 %

Other Important Demographic Details

  • 27,962,691 live births in 2019
  • 10,152,060 deaths in 2019
  • Natural increase: 17,810,631 people in 2019
  • Net migration: -561,720 people in 2019
  • 717,105,446 males as of 31 December 2019
  • 670,192,006 females as of 31 December 2019
  • 7,575 live births average per day in 2020 (3,232.28 in an hour)
  • 28,164 deaths average per day in 2020(1,173.50 in an hour)
  • -1,558 emigrants average per day in 2020 (-64.93 in an hour)
  • The total dependency ratio of the population in India is 54.1 %.
  • The child dependency ratio in India is 45.7 %.
  • Senior citizens dependency ratio in India is 8.4 %

Sectors of Indian Economy

The sectors of the economy are tabulated hereby

Primary Sector

  1. Resource extraction, mining
  2. Farming, fishing
  • The primary sector is sometimes known as the extraction sector – because it involves taking raw materials.
  • These can be renewable resources, such as fish, wool, and wind power. Or it can be the use of non-renewable resources, such as oil extraction, mining for coal.
  • In the 1920s, over one million people were employed in the UK coal industry.
  • It was a key part of the economy. However, improved technology and the growth of other energy sources has seen a dramatic decline in this primary sector industry.

Secondary Sector

The secondary sector makes and distributes finished goods.

  1. Manufacturing – e.,g producing cars from aluminum.
  2. Construction – building homes, factories
  3. Utilities – providing goods like electricity, gas, and telephones to households
  • The manufacturing industry takes raw materials and combines them to produce a higher value-added finished product.
  • For example, raw sheep wool can be spun to form better quality wool. This wool can then be threaded and knitted to produce a jumper that can be worn.
  • Initially, the manufacturing industry was based on labor-intensive ‘cottage industry’ e.g. hand spinning.
  • However, the development of improved technology, such as spinning machines, enabled the growth of larger factories.
  • Benefiting from economies of scale, they were able to reduce the cost of production and increase labor productivity.
  • The higher labor productivity also enabled higher wages and more income to spend on goods and services.

Tertiary Sector (Service Sector)

The tertiary/service sector includes

  • Retail
  • Financial services – Insurance, investment
  • Leisure and hospitality
  • Communication
  • IT
  • Transportation
  • The service sector is concerned with the intangible aspect of offering services to consumers and businesses. It involves the retail of manufactured goods.
  • It also provides services, such as insurance and banking.
  • In the twentieth century, the service sector has grown due to improved labor productivity and higher disposable income.
  • More disposable income enables more spending on ‘luxury’ service items, such as tourism and restaurants.

Quaternary/Knowledge Sector

  1. Education
  2. Research and development
  3. Public sector bodies
  • The quaternary sector is said to the intellectual aspect of the economy. It includes education, training, the development of technology, and research and development.
  • It is the process that enables entrepreneurs to innovate better manufacturing processes and improve the quality of services offered in the economy.
  • Without this growth of technology and information, economic development would be slow or non-existent.
  • It is also known as the knowledge economy – this is the component of the economy based on human capital – IT, knowledge, education.
  • It is primarily related to the service sector but also is related to the high tech component of manufacturing.


The article has elaborated on the major demographic details pertaining to human geography in India. All the aforementioned figures and statistics depict India as a diverse nation with multiple religions.

Moreover, the Indian population is still on the peak. The government must initiate specific measures to curb the population of the country. Also, the census officers must ensure the unbiasedness of the 10-year census and the individuals too must cooperate with the government survey collectors. The people of the nation must ensure accuracy and correctness when providing their details for data collection.

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