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ANALYSIS-2: Muslim Population of Karnataka in the Light of Census-2011

By Qazi Arshad Ali,
MLC and Senior Journalist,

The Director of Census in Karnataka, Mr. T. K. Anil Kumar, has released provisional statistics of the Census-2011 recently. According to this, the population of Karnataka has reached to six crore eleven lakh thirty thousand seven hundred and four (6,11,30,704), out of which three crore ten lakh fifty seven thousand, seven hundred and forty two (3,10,57,742) are men, whereas three crore, seventy two  thousand nine hundred and sixty two (3,00,72,962) are women. Whereas 5.05 percent of the total population of India lives in Karnataka. According to the population ratio, Karnataka stands at 9th position. Karnataka holds a better position compared to other states of India in terms of literacy, decadal growth of population, and a few other matters.

Population growth has been controlled to a greater extent in Karnataka. In a period of 10 years between the censuses performed in 2001 and the Census-2011, India’s population has increased 17.64 percent, whereas the decadal growth of population in Karnataka has been 15.67 percent. Similarly, the literacy rate in the country is 74.04 percent whereas it is 75.50 percent in Karnataka. The statistics of 30 districts of Karnataka have been released, according to it the population of Bangalore Urban district has crossed ninety five lakh eighty eight thousand. Belgaum stands second with a population of more than forty seven lakh seventy eight thousand. Belgaum is also the largest district of Karnataka in terms of geographical dimension. The most astonishing fact of the 2011 census is that the decadal growth of population in Chickmagalur district has been negative, it was 0.28 percent less in 2011 when compared to 2001 census. There are 13 districts in Karnataka where the ratio of population growth is less than 10 percent.

Discussions have begun on Muslim population after the provisional statistics of 2011 census were made public. Usually people are keen to know the growth rate of Muslim population in the country and the state after every census of ten years. Muslims, who are the largest minority in the country, and who constitute more than 80 percent in the category of other religious minorities in Karnataka, have an interest to know about their population for yet another reason that there have been controversial remarks on their population in the country. After every census, the representatives of both Muslims and Non-Muslims analyze the statistics in their own way and present the increase in the Muslim population in an exaggerated way. The Hindu fundamentalist elements try to terrify the common Hindus by the alleged ‘threat’ of Islam by raking in the issue of ‘phenomenal’ growth in Muslim population, whereas Muslim leaders use the statistics to raise the spirit of the backward and psychologically terrified Muslims. Now that the 2011 Census is completed and its provisional data is also made public, everyone at this juncture is eager to know the latest data of Muslim population. But this is not possible. Since the “2011 Census Paper” reflecting population statistics based on religion will be published in 2015, the data of population on the basis of religion cannot be obtained till then. But since the general information about the population and the data of four to five previous censuses is available with us, a realistic analysis of the Muslim population in Karnataka can be made.

Mr. Shahabuddeen, a renowned intellectual of the nation had published the provisional statistics of the Muslim population in the country soon after the 2001 census. His article was published in the Milli Gazette on 15th September 2001 and also in other newspapers and magazines. Mr. Shahabuddeen had evolved a formula to precisely assess the Muslim population in the country. By making this formula more scientific, we have tried to assess the Muslim population in 2011. The result of this analysis is presented here.

According to the released statistics of the total population in Karnataka, an increase of 15.67 percent has been recorded during the 10 years between 2001 and 2011. If we consider the same percentage for the growth of Muslim population, then the Muslim population in 2001 which was 64.63 lakh will now be 74.75 lakh. That means at least there has been an increase of ten lakh twelve thousand seven hundred and seventy two (10, 12,772) in the Muslim population of the state.

The increment trend of Muslim population in our country and Karnataka has been different from the increment trend of the general population. There was an increase of 24.22 percent in the population of Karnataka during 1961 and 1971, whereas the increment percentage of Muslim population then was 33.71 percent. Similarly the general growth rate between 1971 and 1981 was 26.75 percent, whereas the growth rate of Muslim population was 33.74 percent. In the decade of 1981 and 1991 the general population increased by 21.12 percent and the Muslim population saw an increase of 25.57 percent. In the previous census in 2001 the overall population increased by 17.51 percent, whereas the Muslim population increased by 23.16 percent. Therefore these statistics prove that the growth rate of Muslim population has been more than the general growth rate. In comparison of the two, there has been at least a difference of five percent. According to this calculation, the growth rate of the Muslim population in the decade of 2001 and 2011 might be more or less around five percent more than the general growth rate making it to around 20.67 percent. If we calculate with a difference of five percent between the general growth rate and the Muslim growth rate, then the Muslim population in Karnataka would be 77.79 lakh. Besides the two methods adopted above, if we analyze the population of all the 30 districts separately and calculate by adding five percent to the total growth rate of the population, then the Muslim population in the state would be 78.73 lakh. But there is confusion in this calculation if applied to Bangalore. The general growth rate of Bangalore city is 45 percent, and the growth rate of Muslim population of Bangalore has been less than the general growth as recorded in the previous censuses. The reason for this is the migration of lakhs of people to Bangalore from outside. Comparatively the ratio of Muslims coming from other places to Bangalore is less. If we extract an average of the results of all the three formulae adopted to estimate the Muslim population in Karnataka, then the Muslim population in the state would be 77.15 lakh. In this way it could be confidently said that the present Muslim population in Karnataka in between 77 and 78 lakh. After the reorganization of states in 1956, the present state of Karnataka came into existence. Soon after, the Census 1961 was conducted. According to this the Muslim population was 23.28 lakh in 1961, which was 9.87 percent of the total population.

According to the latest statistics of 2011 Census, the Muslim population in Karnataka at present is approximately 78 lakh, which is 12.75 percent of the total population.

The ratio of Muslim population differs in different districts of the state. Bidar, Gulbarga, Dakshina Kannada (Mangalore), Dharwad, Haveri, Bangalore Urban, Kodagu, Bellary, Raichur and Yadgir has more percentage of Muslim population than the average percentage of Muslim population in the state.

According to four censuses conducted between 1961 and 1991, Bidar was on top in terms of percentage of Muslim population. In 1997 after reorganization of districts, when 27 districts were formed, Dakshina Kannada gained the first position in terms of Muslim population. During 2001-2011, another three districts were carved out in Karnataka. In this way Karnataka has 30 districts today. The correct figures of district-wise population will only be known when the final statistics of the latest census are made public. But it could be said that the percentage of Muslim population in Dakshina Kannada, Bidar, Gulbarga and Dharwad is more than 20 percent. It is more than 15 percent in Kodagu, Haveri, Bijapur and Raichur. Mandya and Chamrajnagar are the two districts where Muslims are less than 5 percent, whereas in Mysore, Tumkur, Hassan, Chickmagalur and Bangalore Rural the ratio of Muslim population is less than 10 percent.


Serial No Year of Census Total Population of Karnataka Muslim Population of Karnataka Percentage of       Muslim Population
1 1961 2,35,86,772 23,28,376 9.87 percent
2 1971 2,92,99,014 31,13,298 10.63 percent
3 1981 3,71,35,714 41,63,691 11.21 percent
4 1991 4,49,77,201 52,34,023 11.64 percent
5 2001 5,28,50,562 64,46,327 12.33 percent








12.72 percent


Muslim population in Karnataka an Analysis-1

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8 Responses

  1. Nice article! It would be even more better if the author give us the ‘Mr. Shahabuddeen’s Formula’ for better computation… any how, article is penned beautifully.
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Its a very article, soo far i was waiting eagerly to gather this information. Good now I’ll share it on Facebook via karnatakamuslimyouth…. Good job janab we need more intellectuals like u.
    Thank u

  3. Readers Note: Any content you use from here in whatever manner, you should quote as “Source. Karnataka Muslims” and provide link
    It is legal and mandatory.

  4. quite informative,with this updated information of muslim population,many people can answer the non muslims abt the growth of our society..

  5. masha allah very much informative article by only muslim intelectual polititon of karnataka
    comunity shuuld recognise thinker like qazi arshadali

  6. After Haveng 78Lac Population In Karnataka, Still Why Muslims Don’t Have a Person to Lead & Help, AT Leats In BIDAR, GULBARGA, BIJAPUR & RAICHUR A Political Strong Massage Has To Go, AFTERALL WE ARE 78Lac Now.
    But Information Was Very Analytical & Clear

  7. Follow what muslims do in kerala..there is muslim leauge political party having great power in kerala politics..organize a secular muslim party and bargain for the needs of muslims and other backwards..

  8. I disagree … even I disagree… I can see the population growth of Muslims is increasing by all means…. I (we) can see the difference on the streets and areas. as I have been with Muslim dominated areas (earlier were not) … I can see considerable increase… thats is the reason the Indian & State Gvt are not comng with the figures… even if u claim 12.72% its huge increment from 9% ….It should be contained to 10%…

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