from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Map of Bihars

Bihar ( Hindi : बिहार, Bihār [ bɪˈhɑːr ]) is an Indian state with an area of ​​94,163 km² and around 104 million inhabitants (2011 census). Its capital is Patna , the ancient Pataliputra . Bihar is considered the poorest and most socio-economically underdeveloped state in India.


Bihar borders the states of Uttar Pradesh (west), Jharkhand (south) and West Bengal, as well as Nepal to the north .

The state is hit by monsoons every year , often affecting millions of people from flooding.

Biggest cities

(Status: 2011 census)

city Residents city Residents
1 Patna 1,683,200 8th Arrah 261.099
2 Gaya 463.454 9 Begusarai 251.136
3 Bhagalpur 398.138 10 Katihar 225,982
4th Muzaffarpur 351,838 11 Munger 213.101
5 Biharsharif 296,889 12 Chhapra 201,597
6th Darbhanga 294.116 13 Dinapur Nizamat 182.241
7th Purnia 280,547 14th Saharsa 155.175
Source: Census of India 2011. (PDF file; 151 kB)



Children in a village in Bihar

According to the 2011 Indian census, Bihar has 103,804,637 inhabitants. In terms of population, Bihar is the third largest state in India after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra . The population is growing rapidly: between 2001 and 2011 it increased by 25.1 percent. This makes the growth rate one of the highest of all Indian states and is above the national average of 17.6 percent in the comparable period. Bihar is extremely densely populated: an average of 1102 people live in one square kilometer. The population density is thus the highest of the Indian states and almost three times as high as the overall Indian average of 382 inhabitants per square kilometer. A large part of the population is concentrated in rural areas: only 11.3 percent of Bihar's population live in cities. The degree of urbanization is thus one of the lowest in India and significantly lower than the national average of 31.2 percent.

Bihar is one of the poorest and most backward areas of India. The literacy rate is the lowest of all Indian states: only 63.8 percent of Bihar's residents can read and write (men 73.4 percent, women 53.3 percent), while the overall Indian average is 74.0 percent. However, significant improvements can be seen here. The literacy rate rose between 2001 and 2011 from 47.0% to 63.8% (+16.8%) - the strongest increase among all Indian territorial states. Targeted abortions of female fetuses , which lead to a distorted gender ratio, are problematic . In Bihar there are only 916 women for every 1,000 men. In the period from 2010 to 2014, the average life expectancy was 68.1 years (the Indian average was 67.9 years). The fertility rate was 3.37 children per woman (as of 2016) while the Indian average was 2.23 children in the same year. Bihar had the highest birth rate of all states in India.

Population development

Bihar census population (within today's limits) since the first census in 1951.

Census year population
1951 29,085,900
1961 34,841,490
1971 42,126,800
1981 52,303,000
1991 64,531,200
2001 82.879.910
2011 103,804,630


Languages ​​in Bihar
language percent
Distribution of languages ​​(2001 census)

The official language of Bihar is Hindi . According to the 2001 Indian census, 73 percent of Bihar's population speak Hindi as their first language. In fact, they are mostly speakers of languages ​​from the Bihari group (mainly Bhojpuri and Magahi ). These regional languages, which are closely related to Hindi, are officially counted as Hindi dialects by the Indian government. Maithili , which linguistically also belongs to the Bihari languages, is no longer considered a Hindi dialect since 2003, but as an independent language and has been recognized as one of 22 national languages ​​of India. In Bihar, Maithili is spoken by 14 percent of the population. Among the Muslims of Bihar, Urdu , the Muslim variant of Hindi written in Arabic script , is widespread with 11 percent. All languages ​​mentioned belong to the Indo-Aryan language group. A smaller group of tribesmen ( Adivasi ) in the border area to Jharkhand speak the Munda language Santali , whose speakers make up 0.5 percent of the total population. As in all of India, English is ubiquitous as a communication and educational language.


Religions in Bihar
religion percent
Distribution of religions (2011 census)

According to the 2011 census, 83 percent of Bihar's population are Hindu . There is also a larger minority of Muslims who make up 17 percent of the population. Other religions are practically absent with a share of 0.4 percent.


In the Middle Ages, Bihar formed its own powerful empire and was incorporated into the Mughal Empire after 1525 , but ceded to the English East India Company in 1765 . At that time it corresponded to its location after the old kingdom of Magadha (with the capital Pataliputra ), where the founder of Buddhism in the 6th century BC. BC first presented his teachings and that was the oldest and for a long time the main seat of the Buddhist religion. The landscape owes its importance to this fact. They were adorned with the most beautiful buildings and religious monuments; later they fell into disrepair, and some of the ruins covered with creepers could only be found with great difficulty, as Brahmanism , which had replaced Buddhism here since the 8th century AD, destroyed all witnesses of the splendor of the earlier religion.

The rule of the British East India Company began in the 18th century, starting from neighboring Bengal . The area of ​​today's Bihar was administratively annexed to the Bengal presidency and in 1912 it became part of the province of Bihar and Orissa . In 1936, the Orissa area was carved out as a separate province. After India became independent in 1947 and the Indian Constitution came into force in 1950, Bihar became a federal state. In 1956, smaller Bengali-speaking border areas had to be ceded to the neighboring state of West Bengal in the States Reorganization Act . After there had been efforts to secede for a long time, the southern part of Bihar was spun off on November 15, 2000 and a new federal state under the name Jharkhand .

For years, the situation in Bihar has been characterized by violent clashes between the militias of various political parties, private armies of the large landowners and Maoist rebels .

A smallpox epidemic in 1974 killed 25,000 people in Bihar.

Since April 2016, there has been a strict alcohol ban in all of Bihar ; Since July 2016, the use of mass wine is no longer tolerated in Christian churches.

Natural disasters

Flood-prone areas of India

At the end of August 2008, after weeks of monsoon rains and a large dike breach on the upper reaches of the Koshi River in Nepal , widespread flooding occurred . The floods in over 1,600 villages across the state have left over 1.2 million people homeless and hundreds of people dead. India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the floods as a “national disaster” and mobilized over 5,000 soldiers to evacuate over 90,000 people. He promised aid deliveries of 125,000 tons of grain and financial aid equivalent to around 155 million euros.


Political system

The legislature consists of a bicameral parliament - Vidhan Sabha (lower house) and Vidhan Parishad (upper house). The 243 members of the Vidhan Sabha are elected for 5 years in as many constituencies according to relative majority voting. If a member of parliament leaves prematurely, a by-election takes place. Another MP is appointed by the governor to represent the Anglo-Indian minority.


Distribution of seats after the
2015 general election
RJD 80
JD (U) 71
BJP 53
INC 27
CPI (ML) L 3
HAM (S) 1
Independent 4th
Anglo-Indians 1
total 244

Until the early 1990s, Bihar’s politics was dominated by the Congress Party (INC). After Janata Dal was founded in 1988, it won a majority in the state. In the 1990s, the Janata Dal split into numerous successor parties. Two of these parties, the Janata Dal (United) (JD (U)) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) have been the main political parties in Bihar since then and have alternated in government at irregular intervals. Both parties are relatively strongly influenced by caste and client thinking. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also plays an important role. In contrast, the political weight of the Congress party has decreased significantly. Between 1998 and 2013, JD (U) and BJP were allied within the National Democratic Alliance , while the RJD was temporarily associated with the Congress Party. In 2013 the alliance between BJP and JD (U) broke up and they both went their separate ways.

In the 2015 election to the Parliament of Bihar, which took place on five separate days between October 12 and November 5, 2015, the RJD, Congress Party and JD (U) competed in an alliance, the “Grand Alliance”, against the BJP and won the vote. However, this coalition broke up at the end of July 2017 and a new coalition was formed from JD (U), BJP and the small Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). The Chief Minister remained the same.

The incumbent Chief Minister has been Nitish Kumar (JD (U)) since February 22, 2015 , who has already held this office several times.

Administrative division

Map of the districts of Bihar

The state of Bihar is divided into the following 38 districts (population and population density according to the 2011 census):

District Administrative headquarters surface Population
Araria Araria 000000000002829.00000000002,829 km² 000000002806200.00000000002,806,200 000000000000992.0000000000992 inhabitants / km²
Arwal Arwal 000000000000637.0000000000637 km² 000000000699563.0000000000699,563 000000000001099.00000000001,099 inhabitants / km²
Aurangabad Aurangabad 000000000003304.00000000003,304 km² 000000002511243.00000000002,511,243 000000000000760.0000000000760 inhabitants / km²
Banka Banka 000000000003020.00000000003,020 km² 000000002029339.00000000002,029,339 000000000000672.0000000000672 inhabitants / km²
Begusarai Begusarai 000000000001918.00000000001,918 km² 000000002954367.00000000002,954,367 000000000001540.00000000001,540 inhabitants / km²
Bhagalpur Bhagalpur 000000000002570.00000000002,570 km² 000000003032226.00000000003,032,226 000000000001180.00000000001,180 inhabitants / km²
Bhojpur Arrah 000000000002395.00000000002,395 km² 000000002720155.00000000002,720,155 000000000001136.00000000001,136 inhabitants / km²
Buxar Buxar 000000000001703.00000000001,703 km² 000000001707643.00000000001,707,643 000000000001003.00000000001,003 inhabitants / km²
Darbhanga Darbhanga 000000000002279.00000000002,279 km² 000000003921971.00000000003,921,971 000000000001721.00000000001,721 inhabitants / km²
Gaya Gaya 000000000004977.00000000004,977 km² 000000004379383.00000000004,379,383 000000000000880.0000000000880 inhabitants / km²
Gopalganj Gopalganj 000000000002033.00000000002,033 km² 000000002558037.00000000002,558,037 000000000001258.00000000001,258 inhabitants / km²
Jamui Jamui 000000000003097.00000000003,097 km² 000000001756078.00000000001,756,078 000000000000567.0000000000567 inhabitants / km²
Jehanabad Jehanabad 000000000000932.0000000000932 km² 000000001124176.00000000001,124,176 000000000001206.00000000001,206 inhabitants / km²
Kaimur Bhabua 000000000003334.00000000003,334 km² 000000001626900.00000000001,626,900 000000000000488.0000000000488 inhabitants / km²
Katihar Katihar 000000000003056.00000000003,056 km² 000000003068149.00000000003,068,149 000000000001004.00000000001,004 inhabitants / km²
Khagaria Khagaria 000000000001487.00000000001,487 km² 000000001657599.00000000001,657,599 000000000001115.00000000001,115 inhabitants / km²
Kishanganj Kishanganj 000000000001883.00000000001,883 km² 000000001690948.00000000001,690,948 000000000000898.0000000000898 inhabitants / km²
Lakhisarai Lakhisarai 000000000001228.00000000001,228 km² 000000001000717.00000000001,000,717 000000000000815.0000000000815 inhabitants / km²
Madhepura Madhepura 000000000001787.00000000001,787 km² 000000001994618.00000000001,994,618 000000000001116.00000000001,116 inhabitants / km²
Madhubani Madhubani 000000000003500.00000000003,500 km² 000000004476044.00000000004,476,044 000000000001279.00000000001,279 inhabitants / km²
Munger Munger 000000000001419.00000000001,419 km² 000000001359054.00000000001,359,054 000000000000958.0000000000958 inhabitants / km²
Muzaffarpur Muzaffarpur 000000000003173.00000000003,173 km² 000000004778610.00000000004,778,610 000000000001506.00000000001,506 inhabitants / km²
Nalanda Biharsharif 000000000002355.00000000002,355 km² 000000002872523.00000000002,872,523 000000000001220.00000000001,220 inhabitants / km²
Nawada Nawada 000000000002493.00000000002,493 km² 000000002216653.00000000002,216,653 000000000000889.0000000000889 inhabitants / km²
Pashchim Champaran Bettiah 000000000005230.00000000005,230 km² 000000003922780.00000000003,922,780 000000000000750.0000000000750 inhabitants / km²
Patna Patna 000000000003202.00000000003,202 km² 000000005772804.00000000005,772,804 000000000001803.00000000001,803 inhabitants / km²
Purba Champaran Motihari 000000000003968.00000000003,968 km² 000000005082868.00000000005,082,868 000000000001281.00000000001,281 inhabitants / km²
Purnia Purnia 000000000003228.00000000003,228 km² 000000003273127.00000000003,273,127 000000000001014.00000000001,014 inhabitants / km²
Rohtas Sasaram 000000000003934.00000000003,934 km² 000000002962593.00000000002,962,593 000000000000753.0000000000753 inhabitants / km²
Saharsa Saharsa 000000000001686.00000000001,686 km² 000000001897102.00000000001,897,102 000000000001125.00000000001,125 inhabitants / km²
Samastipur Samastipur 000000000002904.00000000002,904 km² 000000004254782.00000000004,254,782 000000000001465.00000000001,465 inhabitants / km²
Saran Chhapra 000000000002641.00000000002,641 km² 000000003943098.00000000003,943,098 000000000001493.00000000001,493 inhabitants / km²
Sheikhpura Sheikhpura 000000000000689.0000000000689 km² 000000000634927.0000000000634.927 000000000000922.0000000000922 inhabitants / km²
Sheohar Sheohar 000000000000349.0000000000349 km² 000000000656916.0000000000656.916 000000000001882.00000000001,882 inhabitants / km²
Sitamarhi Sitamarhi 000000000002294.00000000002,294 km² 000000003419622.00000000003,419,622 000000000001491.00000000001,491 inhabitants / km²
Siwan Siwan 000000000002220.00000000002,220 km² 000000003318176.00000000003,318,176 000000000001495.00000000001,495 inhabitants / km²
Supaul Supaul 000000000002425.00000000002,425 km² 000000002228397.00000000002,228,397 000000000000919.0000000000919 inhabitants / km²
Vaishali Hajipur 000000000002036.00000000002,036 km² 000000003495249.00000000003,495,249 000000000001717.00000000001,717 inhabitants / km²


Bihar is one of the poorest Indian states. The per capita income was 26,801 rupees in 2015-2016, which was only about a third of the Indian mean (77,435 cents) and the state was last in India. Despite high economic growth, the gap to the other states has hardly decreased in recent years. The gross domestic product (at 2011-12 prices) amounted to 3.143 trillion rupees (approx. 44 billion euros) in 2015, to which the primary sector contributed 18.3 percent, the secondary sector 18.1 percent and the tertiary sector 59.9 percent. In recent years the share of the primary sector has decreased and that of the tertiary sector has increased accordingly. There is significant economic inequality within Bihar. The three wealthiest districts in 2007-12 were Patna , Munger and Begusarai , the three poorest are Madhepura , Supaul and Sheohar .

With a score of 0.551, Bihar ranked last among the 29 states and union territories of India in the Human Development Index in 2015 .


Bihar is the largest lychee producer among the states of India
Farm workers in Bihar

In 2013-14, 56.1 percent of the country's area was used for agriculture. The alluvial soils of the Ganges plain give off extremely fertile soils and deliver high yields. Agriculture in Bihar is strongly characterized by subsistence farming. Various cereals are grown on more than 90% of the agricultural land. Annual production in 2015-16 was around 6.8 million tons (Mt) rice, 4.7 Mt wheat, 2.5 Mt corn, 420,000 tons of pulses , 130,000 tons of oilseeds and 119,100 tons of sugar cane . Around 14.3 million tons of vegetables were harvested in 2015-16, of which 6.3 Mt potatoes, 1.2 Mt onions, 1.1 Mt aubergines , 1 Mt tomatoes, 1 Mt cauliflower, 763,000 t okra (Bhindi), 720,000 t white cabbage, 630,000 t bottle gourd , 247,000 t garden radish . Bihar is the largest producer of vegetables in India. The production figures for the main fruits grown in Bihar were in the same year: 1535 thousand tons (kt) of bananas, 1465 kt of mangoes , 370 kt of guavas , 198 kt of lychee , 129 kt of lemons, 116 kt of pineapple, 53 kt of papaya and 14 kt of amla . The forest area in Bihar is 6.6 percent of the country's area, well below the Indian average. Irrigation is very important for agriculture because the average amount of rainfall is large, but can vary greatly between years. According to plans by the government of Bihar, the total area of ​​irrigated land should increase to 10.2 million hectares.

Tea cultivation in Bihar has also increased since around the year 2000 . The cultivation area is the Kisanganj district , where tea is harvested on 50,000 acres . The annual production is around 2,300 tons (2015).

In livestock farming, the production of milk (8.2 Mt), eggs (1 billion) and fish (0.5 Mt; all figures for 2015-16) have increased significantly. This took place parallel to the increase in livestock farming. In 2012, 32.9 million farm animals were counted: 12.2 million cattle, 12.1 million goats, 7.6 million buffalo, 12.7 million poultry, 0.65 million pigs, 0.23 million sheep, 49,000 horses. Silk construction is promoted by the government of Bihar .


With the separation of the southern part of the country as the new state of Jharkhand in 2000, Bihar lost most of its natural resources and the associated (heavy) industry, which was mainly located in Jharkhand. A significant part of today's Bihar industry is involved in the processing of agricultural products. In the period 2013-14 this was 1036 out of 3132 factories. A significant part of the small industries is not registered and is therefore not recorded statistically. The contribution of industry to Bihar's gross domestic product was 19.0% (2015), well below the Indian average (31.3%). Among the non-agricultural-based industries there is the weaving and textile industry, which is concerned with the processing of cotton, silk, wool and jute and is largely carried out by hand as a small industry. There are mechanical textile industries in Bhagalpur , Banka and Gaya .

Infrastructure and transport

Rural railway station in Bihar

The governments of Bihar have pushed the development of the infrastructure in recent years. Investments in roads and bridges increased between 2007 and 2008 from 2696 to 7696 crore rupees in 2016-17. In September 2016, the road network comprised 4,621 kilometers of national highways , 4,253 kilometers of state highways and 11,054 kilometers of main district roads. The National Highways were about 30 percent multi-lane (> 7 meters wide) and 41 percent two-lane (7 meters wide), the State Highways were 78 percent and the district roads were 14 percent two-lane. The rest was made up of single-lane (3.75 m) and intermediate roads (5.5 m).

In 2015, 45.9 motor vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants were registered in the state (India total: 173.5, Germany: 684). Public transportation services are provided by the state-owned Bihar State Road Transport Corporation (BSRTC), which operated 350 private buses and 141 city buses in Patna , Gaya, Darbhanga and Chhapra in 2016 . The number of users in 2015-16 was 126,000.

In 2014, Bihar had 3,639 kilometers of railways. In relation to the area, the railway density was higher than the Indian average, but in relation to the population it was lower. Air traffic is growing rapidly (2010-11: 9547 flight movements, 2015-16: 18,744 flight movements) and, in parallel, the number of flight passengers (2010-11: 839,000, 2015-16: 1.6 million).


Energy consumption has risen sharply for several years, parallel to economic development. In the three years 2012–13 to 2015–16, the rate of increase was 78 percent. The government's plans envisaged an energy generation capacity of 8925 MW for 2018-19, of which 8220 MW conventional and 705 MW (8%) non-conventional energy. In March 2016, 86.4 percent of the energy was generated in coal-fired power plants, 9.7 percent came from hydropower and 3.9 percent from renewable sources . Most of the energy industry was state-owned. The use of solar energy is still in its infancy. In 2013-16, various central government buildings, including the residences of the Chief Justice House , the Governor House , the Chief Minister's House and others, were equipped with solar systems, as well as more than 10,000 solar-powered street lights in total State installed.


In the area of ​​the telephone network, exponential growth has been observed since the turn of the millennium. The number of telephone connections increased from 970,000 in 2001 to 74.8 million in 2016. In 2016, there were 54.3 telephones per 1,000 inhabitants in Bihar (Indian average: 83.4). The Indian Post had 9067 post offices in Bihar in March 2015.


The "Vulture Mountain" near Rajgir was an early place of residence and meditation for the Buddha and is therefore a destination for Buddhist pilgrims

Bihar's potential for tourism is considerable due to the multiple sights, but has so far only been insufficiently exploited. In 2015, 2.9 million tourists visited the state, of whom 923,000 were from abroad.

Web links

Commons : Bihar  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Central Institute of Indian Languages: Language Use in Administration and National Integration
  2. a b Census of India 2011: Provisional Population Tables and Annexures. ( Memento from January 10, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  3. ^ Census of India 2011: Provisional Population Totals - India - Rural-Urban Distribution. (PDF file; 7.7 MB)
  4. ^ State of Literacy. (PDF) Census of India 2011 provisional results, accessed on June 18, 2016 .
  5. ^ Indian States by Life Expectancy 2010-2014. (PDF) Retrieved March 19, 2018 .
  6. ^ Fertility Rates. (PDF) Retrieved March 19, 2018 .
  7. ^ Population of Indian States | Indian states population 1901-2011 - Retrieved March 18, 2018 .
  8. Indian census 2001
  9. Census of India 2011: Population by religious community.
  10. Ernst Kern : Seeing - Thinking - Acting of a surgeon in the 20th century. ecomed, Landsberg am Lech 2000, ISBN 3-609-20149-5 , p. 324.
  11. Indian state banishes altar wine - church outraged. from July 27, 2016
  12. Spiegel-online: Floods in India - Monsoon catastrophe makes 1.2 million people homeless , August 31, 2008, accessed on August 31, 2008
  13. a b Millions of Indians trapped by masses of water , August 28, 2008, accessed on August 28, 2008
  14. 1.2 million homeless people due to floods in India ( memento from September 4, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on September 2, 2008
  15. ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA: GENERAL ELECTION TO LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY TRENDS & RESULT 2015. Indian Electoral Commission, accessed on November 15, 2015 (English).
  16. Grand Alliance secures majority in Bihar. The Hindu, November 8, 2015, accessed November 15, 2015 .
  17. 14 are from CM Nitish Kumar's party, 12 from the BJP and one from National Democratic Alliance partner LJP. July 30, 2017, accessed September 18, 2017 .
  18. ^ Census of India 2011: Provisional Population Totals. Paper 1 of 2011: Bihar. (PDF file; 85 kB)
  19. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Economic Survey 2016 - 17. (PDF) (No longer available online.) Government of Bihar, Finance Department, archived from the original on July 29, 2017 ; accessed on July 28, 2017 (English).
  20. ^ Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab. Retrieved August 12, 2018 .
  21. ^ HP Singh, S. Babita: 7. Lychee Production in India . In: Minas K. Papademetriou, Frank J. Dent (Ed.): Lychee Production in the Asia-Pacific Region . World Food Organization , March 2002 (English, online ).

Coordinates: 25 ° 36 '  N , 85 ° 12'  E