COMPARED to the last two Census, the population of Christian community in tribal-dominated districts in Odisha has witnessed a significant rise, the latest Census on Population by Religious Communities has revealed.
While the population of the Christian community marked a 100% rise in some districts in Odisha, it registered a growth of 50%-80% in other districts across the state as compared to the last census.
The latest census data reveals that population in the state increased by 14.05% during the period of the Census: 2001 to 2011. The growth of the Christian population has overtaken the growth of other religious communities in the state.
According to the 2011 religious census, the Christian population in Boudh district has increased by 118.41 % while the Hindu population grew by a mere 17.76% between 2001 and 2011.
Similarly in Sonepur district, the decadal population growth in the Christian community has increased by 70.06 % while the Hindu population grew by 12.40%.
In Ganjam district, the Christian population has increased by 61.80 % and the Hindu population by 11.28% between 2001 and 2011. In Mayurbhanj district, the Christian population has increased by 64.56 % and the Muslim population grew by 27.50% between in the 10-year period of the Census beginning 2001. The Hindu population increased by just 13.63% during the same period.
In the last 10 years, the Christian population in Kalahandi district has registered a 61.20% increase while the Hindu population has gone up by a meagre 9.96%.
In Maoist-affected Malkangiri district, the Christian population has risen by 59.35% and the Hindu population by 21.12%. Likewise, the Christian population in Rayagada district increased by 53.78% and the Muslim population increased by 13.48% and the Hindu population grew by a mere 1.36%.
Dhenkanal district registered a growth in Christian population of 33.34% and Hindu population by 11.74%. In Gajapati district, the Hindu population increased by 3.47% and the Christian population by 26.38%. But, the Muslim population in the district showed a remarkable decrease by 4.13%.
On the other hand, the Muslim population in Kalahandi and Keonjhar districts increased by 38.50% and 36.11% respectively. The Hindu population in Bolangir district increased by 23.35% during this census.
The Christian population in Boudh, Muslim population in Kalahandi and Hindu population in Bolangir has registered a significant increase.
From 8.97 lakh in 2001, the Christian population has jumped to 11.61 lakh, registering a sharp 29.39% growth. Hindus have shown the slowest growth rate and their number has risen by 13.17%
The religious census revealed that the Buddhist, Sikh and Jains population grew by 40.44%, 25.72% and 2.91% respectively. The Hindu population growth in Bargarh, Sundargarh, Jagatsinghpur, Gajapati and Kandhamal districts was less than 10%.
However, population experts were of the view that the birth-death ratio in other communities was higher than in Christian community as a result of which the latter registered higher increase in population. The religious conversion factor contributing to the population growth needs intensive research, they added. Odisha Sun Times