Consumer Pyramids Results from India's Largest survey of Households
Over 158,000 Households Surveyed every Quarter
Demographic characteristics of over 700,000 individuals
11 Aug 2015 2:26 PM, Insights Mehr Kaur

Literacy rate at 78.2 per cent during September-December 2014

It is 95 per cent among children of 10-20 years of age

During the period September through December 2014, the Consumer Pyramids survey interviewed 141,000 households all over India. These households had a total of 600,000 inhabitants. Of these, 551,000 were of seven or more years of age. The survey captured the literacy level of all these 551,000 inhabitants. Literacy is defined as the ratio of those among seven years and more who have the ability to read and comprehend in any language.

Based on the findings of this, we find that 78.2 per cent of Indians of seven years of age and more were literate.

India is making substantial progress in at least ensuring basic literacy of its younger population. This progress is seen in the age distribution of literacy. Literacy is close to 95 per cent amongst children between 10 and 20 years of age today. Whereas it is lower than 56 per cent amongst those who are 65-75 years of age; these were those who were in the 10-20 year age bracket around independence. Many of these could have become literate only later in life and so, the literacy rate for children between 10 and 20 years of age around independence could have been much lower than even 56 per cent.

The higher literacy rate of 95 per cent we see among children between 10-20 years promises a better future. It is also important to note that 10-20 years’ age-bracket is where the population pyramid bulges. This age-bracket accounts for over 21 per cent of the total population.

But, the literacy rate falls quite sharply as the age groups rise. It falls 6 percentage points to 89.1 per cent for the age group 20-25 years and then to 82 per cent for 25-30 years. Thus, about 15 per cent of the twenty-somethings, who are either entering the labour force or are a part of the new labour force are illiterate.

While the country has made substantial progress on literacy since independence, and while the future is promising on the literacy front, adult literacy will remain a problem for some time to come. About one-third of the population between 30 and 65 years, which forms the bulk of the workforce, is illiterate.

As literacy and education improve in the coming years, the availability of corresponding jobs for the educated is the next challenge. Skilling India is the challenge.