Introduction : Regional Differences

On the basis of natural geographic considerations and cultural differences, the state is divided into five regions: Hill, Western, Central, Eastern and Bundelkhand (Southern) with estimated populations in 1991 of 6 million (4.3 percent), 50 million (35.6 percent), 24 million (17.4 percent), 53 million (37.9 percent) and 7 million (4.8 percent) respectively. The population density varies from a high of 614 in the Eastern region to a low of 116 in the Hill region. Percent of urban population is the highest in the Western region (26 percent) and the lowest in the Eastern region (12 percent). The total literacy rate is the highest in the Hill region (60 percent) with 76 percent for males and 43 percent for females. The Eastern region has the lowest literacy rate of 39 percent, with a male literacy rate of 55 percent and a female literacy rate of only 21 percent. The sex ratio varies from 955 in the Hill region to 841 in the Western region.

The Hill region has the lowest fertility followed by Bundelkhand region. The Western and Eastern regions have the highest fertility. Contraceptive use by any method is the highest in the Hill region (48 percent) and the lowest in the Eastern region (19 percent). The percentage of women who intend to use contraception either to limit or space children is very high in the Hill region (57 percent) and the lowest in the Eastern region (25 percent).

The percentage of recent mothers reporting RTI is 30 percent in the Western region and 27 percent in the Central region. The Hill region with high literacy, low total fertility rate, and high use of contraceptive methods leads the other regions in terms of the demographic transition, closely followed by the Bundelkhand region. The Western region is marked by a relatively high female literacy rate, high contraceptive use, and also a very high proportion of intending users. However, the sex ratio in Western UP is very low, indicating the low status of women and also the high preference for sons.

The Eastern and the Central regions have low literacy rates, low contraceptive prevalence rates, and high fertility rates. Given these wide variations in fertility and contraceptive behaviour and other social development indicators, objectives and strategies for demand creation and service delivery have to be substantially different across regions. The Population Policy of UP recognizes and addresses these regional variations.

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