Number of transgender people in India by state 2011

Transgender people, often referred to as the Hijras in the Indian subcontinent, are an officially recognized third gender in the country and consider themselves neither male nor female. As per the latest census, India recorded over 487 thousand people who identified as the third gender, most of whom came from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Socioeconomics of Hijras

  Hijras are associated by several terms, depending on culture and linguistics. In various Indian languages, Hijras are called Napunsakudu (Telugu), Thiru Nangai (Tamil), Khwaja Sara (Urdu), Khusra (Punjabi) and Mangalamukhi (Kannada) among others. The third gender is inherent to Indian mythology.
Socio-economically, Hijras live in well-defined communities, led by a Guru or teacher. They consist of generations of the third gender who were rejected by or fled from their birth-families. Apart from sex-work, performing at auspicious social gatherings or plain extortion was how most survived. This was due to the lack of education and employment due to their low status in their society’s hierarchy. This also meant that they underwent brutal violence with little or no opportunity for justice.  

Indian law and the third gender

  When the country’s Supreme Court re-criminalized homosexuality in 2013, there was a sharp increase in violence against the third gender by the Indian Police Service, far from investigating reports of sexual assault. Later in 2014, with the support of activists and NGOs lobbying for human rights, the same highest court ruled the recognition of the third gender community, equal to the socially and economically backward class. This meant that they now had access to proportional representation in education and jobs.

Number of transgender people in India in 2011, by state

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Release date

January 2016



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

Note: Data is from the latest Indian census conducted in 2011. The next census report is scheduled for 2021.

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