One-third of Indians never went to school: Census

More than one third of Indians or 41.51 crore, including 24.23 crore women, have never gone to a school or even a literacy centre in their lifetime, the latest census figures show.

Of the 34.28 per cent of 121 crore population who have not gone to any educational institution, the majority comes from Uttar Pradesh (8.10 crore), which is 40.57 per cent of the total population in the state.

However, Bihar has the highest percentage of 46.95 per cent (4.88 crore) people in the state never being to school.

Andhra Pradesh (3.16 crore), Rajasthan (2.87 crore), West Bengal (2.79 crore), Madhya Pradesh (2.74 crore) and Maharashtra (2.72 crore) were the other major contributors in this regard, the Census 2011 report on ‘Population Attending Education Institutions’ has said.

An analysis showed that around half a dozen big states have their share of population above the national percentage of 34.28 per cent.

Besides UP and Bihar, states like Rajasthan (41.18 per cent of the state population), Madhya Pradesh (37.84 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (37.39 per cent) and Chhattisgarh (36.36 per cent) have a large proportion of their population who have never attended schools.

Though below the national average, states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Odisha and Gujarat have also contributed to the numbers.

Karnataka has 1.90 crore people or 31.24 per cent of a population of 6.10 crore who have never been to a school while another south Indian state Tamil Nadu have 1.80 crore or 25.02 per cent of its 7.21 crore population. Odisha has 33.43 per cent, West Bengal 30.59 per cent and Gujarat 29.38 per cent of their population in this category.

Kerala is the only south Indian state to have an impressive record. It has just 13.11 per cent (43.81 lakh) of its 3.34 crore population in this category.

Depicting the apathy towards women education, the statistics showed that the fairer sex outnumbered men. They accounted for 58.37 per cent (24.23 crore) of the total people who were never to schools.

None of the states have more men in this category compared to women. Again Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 4.67 crore followed by Bihar 2.74 crore and Andhra with 1.85 crore.

Kerala had 24.74 lakh women in this category while Karnataka had 1.12 crore (59 per cent) women with no experience of going to school.




Age Group



Total who never attended



Women who never attended




15.96 crore (37.24 cr)*


7.74 crore (16.72 cr)**




1.28 crore (12.05 cr)


73.70 lakh (5.65 cr)




1.83 crore (11.14 cr)


1.18 crore (5.38 cr)




2.23 crore (10.14 cr)


1.48 crore (5.006 cr)




2.40 crore (8.85 cr)


1.60 crore (4.39 cr)




11.73 crore (30.81 cr)


7.6 crore (15.02 crore)




5.86 crore (10.38 cr)


3.77 crore (5.27 cr)


Age not mentioned


18.92 lakh (44.89 lakh)


10.05 lakh (21.16 lakh)





41,51,10,359 (121 cr)


24,23,30,532 (58.75 cr)


*in bracket total population

** in bracket women population

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Aug 31, 2015)


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