Below is given a brief analysis of the Jain’s population as per the 2001 census.
One of the unique features of Indian Census is that it captures the diverse cultural heritage of the country at the population enumeration and keeps its identity intact while collating and tabulating basic population data. The Primary Census Abstract for the Total Population, the Scheduled Castes Population and the Scheduled Tribes Population released earlier provided basic population characteristics of the total population by residence and sex for India, state, district, town and city level. The first report on religion data succinctly brings out the salient population characteristics by different religious affiliations of the population. Some of the key findings related to the Jain community are summarized below.
A. Population of Jains and their distribution and growth rate
At the national level, of 1028 million population, 4.2 million (0.4 percent) are Jains as per the 2001 Census. Jain population has registered a growth rate of 26.0 percent against very low growth rate of 4.6 percent during 1981-1991. Abnormally low population growth of Jains in the last decade appears to be an aberration when compared with the previous decades.
It may be highlighted here that all the major religious communities are enumerated in all the States and union territories except Jains which were not returned in the smallest Union territory of the country, the Lakshadweep, at the 2001 Census.
B. Sex ratio of population (number of females per thousand males)
It may be discerned that at the national level, Jains population has the sex ratio of 940 females per thousand males at the 2001 Census which is just above the national average of 933 for all religions.
Among the major states Kerala has returned the highest sex ratio of 996 for Jains. In Gujarat and Rajasthan also sex ratio of Jains is high at 969 and 960 respectively. In twenty states Jain population has sex ratio between 901-950.
C. Sex ratio in the age group 0-6 (number of female children to the male children in age group 0-6)
One of the alarming facts that emerged at the 2001 Census is declining Child Sex Ratio in the age group 0-6 in many states and union territories. At the All-India level the Jains population has recorded the second lowest child sex ratio of 870 at the 2001 Census.
Sixteen states and union territories have a child sex ratio below 850 among Jains. Among the major states having large Jain population sex ratio in the age group 0-6 is low at 832 in Gujarat and 878 in Rajasthan and 906 in Madhya Pradesh.
D. Percentage of child population in the age group 0-6 to total population
With regard to the proportion of population in the age group 0-6 to total population among the Jains is seen to be 10.6 percent.
Jain population, have clearly demonstrated that high female literacy has been a significant contributing factor among others, such as, their high urbanization and ascetic beliefs, leading to the lowest overall proportion of child population age 0-6 (10.6 percent). In several districts this proportion is well below 10 percent.
Proportion of population in the age group 0-6 among the Jains reveals that among the major states, Karnataka accounts for highest proportion of 12 percent which is far below the national average. Gujarat has the lowest proportion of 9.2 percent. Low fertility trend among the Jains is evident from the fact that except two states all other states have child population proportion below 14 percent. Jains have reported the lowest child population 9.2 percent in Gujarat followed be West Bengal 9.6 among the major states.
E. Literacy Status
As far as the literacy rate by religious communities as well as for the total population at the 2001 Census the literacy rate for the population age 7 years and above for the country as a whole stands at 64.8 percent. As compared to this, the literacy rate among the Jains is the highest at 94.1 percent.
Jain population have also returned very high national literacy rate of 94.1 percent and in 29 states and union territories, their literacy rate is above 90 percent. It is one of the most literate religious communities in India and likely to reach the goal of universal literacy for its total population anytime now. It is also important to remember here that most of the Jain population lives in urban areas and its main economic activities are in the field of business, industry, commerce and professionals.
The group of ‘Other Religions and Persuasions’ has a national literacy rate of only 43.5 percent. It follows inconsistent patterns among states and union territories. Bihar has substantial proportion of population returned as ‘Other Religions and Persuasions’ and has recorded the lowest literacy of 28.7 percent while Mizoram recorded the highest, 95.5 percent. Four states including the high literacy state of Kerala recorded more than 90 percent literacy in this group while in six states the literacy rates are below 50 percent.
It may be interesting to point out that Kerala, Lakshadweep and Pondicherry have very high literacy rate for all the religious communities ( above 80 percent) while in Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Tamil Nadu also literacy is above 70 percent for all the religious communities. In Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh the literacy rates are rather depressed and below 60 percent for Hindus, Muslims and others. Thus there are regions in the country where all religions have a high literacy rate or low literacy rate. It appears that the religion effect may be weak in several parts of country and the overall regional milieu and state of low or high development may be contributing to improvement or stagnancy in literacy rates. These effects now need to be identified, quantified and also tackled leading to improvement of overall literacy and elimination of gender gap in literacy rate, legacies notwithstanding.
Literacy rate – male and female
It may be seen that both males and females among the Jain population have very high literacy rate of 97.4 percent and 90.1 percent respectively at the national level Thus the gender gap in male female literacy among the Jains is less than ten percentage points.
29. It may further be seen that female literacy scenario among Sikhs and Jains is very encouraging as compared to other religions wherein except one state all the other states have reported females literacy rate above 60 percent. Twenty-nine states and union territories among the Jainsare having female literacy above 80 percent. The 2001 Census data brings out clearly a high literacy rate among the females of the Jains.
Jains appear to have the least gap in male female literacy and that too at very high levels of literacy rate, a near ideal situation.
F. Work Participation Rate (WPR)
Work Participation Rate or percentage of workers to total population for all religion is 39.1 percent in the 2001 Census. The lowest WPR of 31.3 percent at the national level are seen for the Muslim population, preceded by Jains at 32.9 percent and Sikhs at 37.7 percent. The proportion of urban population, female work participation rates and proportion of workers in non-agricultural activity directly influences low WPRs among other factors.
The lowest WPR of less than 35 percent has been recorded in 23 states and union territories among Jains. Male WPR is highest among Jains 55.2 percent followed by Sikhs 53.3 percent and Hindus 52.4 percent. The lowest female WPR is noted among Jains at 9.2 percent.
With regard to the proportions of workers by four broad categories, namely, cultivators, agricultural labourers, household industry workers and other workers by religious communities for India and the State/ Union territories. It may be seen that at national level percentage of cultivators is the highest at 49.9 percent among the followers of ‘Other religion and Persuasions’. It is found that Only 11.7 percent among Jain workers are cultivators, much below the national average of 31.2% for total population.
At the aggregated level 26.5 percent of workers are Agricultural labourers (AL). The pattern among the Jains is only 3.3 percent in the category of Agrivultural labourers. In fact this percentage falls below the national average. In brief this makes us clear that majority of workers among the Jains are engaged in non agricultural pursuits.
In the category of Household Industry (HHI) workers, only 3 percent of the Jain workers are in this category.
The category of ‘Others’ (OW) includes all those workers, which do not fall under the three distinct categories above. This includes workers in tertiary sector, such as, service, manufacturing, trade and commerce and allied activities. Jains with 81.7 percent workers are classified as others. The business character of the Jain workers is evident in this dataset.