The 2001 census put the number of persons belonging to Scheduled Tribes in India at 84.3 million which is 8.2% of the total population. There were about 60 major tribal groups accounting for about 80% of the total tribal population of India in 1991.There were over 100 medium tribal groups and 130 minor tribal groups. About 60 others were numerically insignificant.
According to 2001 census STs are largest in MP followed by Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan and Jharkhand.The ST formed the largest proportion of the total population in Lakshadeep, Mizoram and Nagaland.
The decadal population growth between the census years 1981-1991 in tribal population has been higher at 31.64% than that for the entire population at 23.51% however during the census years 1991-2001 it has been 24.45% against the growth rate of 22.66% for the entire population.
Karnataka has witnessed highest growth rate of 80.82% followed by Nagaland 67.23%.The lowest growth rate as per 2001 census was recorded in Andaman and Nicobar Islands at 10.08% followed by Himachal Pradesh at 12.02%.
The sex-ratio among STs stand at 977 per 1000 males. In all states except AP and Tamil Nadu and Uttaranchal the ST sex-ratio as per 2001 census was more women centric.
The literacy rate for STs increased from 29.62% to 47.10 %.The female literacy rate among tribals increased from 18.19% to 34.76% in 2001.