Anomalies in Manipur’s Census, 1991 – 2011

Azim Premji University,


This paper examines Manipur’s census statistics for the period between 1991 and 2011. It argues that conventional demographic factors cannot explain the abnormal population growth rates reported in parts of Manipur and that the abnormalities in the headcount might instead be explained by the manipulation of census data driven by political and economic considerations. Manipur’s experience is used to draw attention to systemic problems related to the inadequacy of metadata supplied by the Census of India, the lack of guidelines for the correction of census data, the impact of political interference on data quality and the cascading effect of errors in fundamental statistics such as headcount on other government statistics.