Details of the population of British India were collected first in 1881, through a census. This census suffered for certain limitations but it revealed the fact that the population was uneven in its growth. After 1881, a population census was taken every ten years. India was in the stage of a first demographic transition before 1921. The second stage of such a transition happened after 1921. At this stage, however, neither the population growth nor the total population of India was very high.
The social development indicators were also not very encouraging at that time. The overall literacy was less than 16 percent and female literacy was around 7 percent. Public health facilities were unavailable to a very large sector of people. They were inadequate wherever they were available. Hence, water and air borne diseases attacked people in huge numbers and spread causing a large number of deaths. The overall mortality rate was very high and infant mortality was alarming. It was 21 per 1000 compared to the present rate of 63 per thousand. Life expectancy was 32 compared to the present day 63. Due to insufficient data, it is not possible to predict and discuss the level of poverty but considering the situation, it obviously must have been high contributing to the further deterioration of India.