The People of India

[Note: This information derives primarily from the 1995 edition of the CIA World Factbook.]


Age structure

Life expectancy at birth


Ethnic divisions



English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication. Official languages: Hindi the national language and primary tongue of 30% of the people, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Sanskrit. Hindustani a popular variant of Hindu/Urdu, is spoken widely throughout northern India.

Note: 24 languages each spoken by a million or more persons; numerous other languages and dialects, for the most part mutually unintelligible.

Language in India: Colonial Times and Since Independence

Literacy age 7 and over can read and write (1991)

Labor force

Postcolonial Web Indian Subcontinent India OV