The distribution of population in the area of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir is, to a very large degree, contingent on the factors of physical geography discussed in respect to the foregoing general reference map. Figure 3 provides a map of that distribution, by districts, as of 1981, the date of the most recent censuses conducted by India and Pakistan on their respective sides of the Line of Control. Although the total population has increased substantially since that date, the regional pattern of relatively high, medium, and low densities will have altered little.

Figure 3

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Generally speaking, the areas comprising Indian-held Kashmir proper and Jammu, and Pakistani-held Azad Kashmir are areas in which the densities range from medium to very high, while Ladakh and the Northern Areas are sparsely settled. Regional area and population totals for 1971 and 1981 and1981 densities are indicated in the table below. At the district level, 1981 densities ranged from a high of 824 per square mile (318 per square km.) in Srinagar and 790 per square mile (305 per square km.) in Jammu to a low of 1.2 per square mile (0.47 per square km.) in Leh.

Density, 1981
(sq. mi.) (sq. km.) 1981 (x 1,000) per sq. mi. per sq. km.

Indian-held areas
Kashmir 6,049 15,668 3,135 518 200
Jammu 9,997 25,891 2,718 272 105
Ladakh 15,597 40,395 134 9 3

Total 31,643 81,954 5,987 19 7
Pakistani-held areas
Azad Kashmir 4,871 12,616 1,983 407 157
Northern Areas 32,792 84,931 575 18 7

Total 37,663 97,547 2,558 68 26
Chinese-held areas
Aksai Chin 14,500 37,555 *
Shaksgam 2,000 5,180 *

Total 16,500 42,735 *

Grand total 85,806 222,236 8,545 100 38
*signifies virtually no permanent habitation

In the years since the partition of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the rate of population growth in the Pakistan-held areas has been somewhat higher than in those held by India. But, because of significant migratory streams into and out of various areas of the erstwhile state, the effects of internal conflict, changes in vital rates, and other factors, it is difficult to project reliable population figures for the present date (the year 2000). Rough estimates (in millions) may, however, be offered, as follows:

Indian-held areas
Kashmir 4.70 m., Jammu 4.55 m., Ladakh 0.20 m. Total 9.45 m.
Pakistani-held areas
Azad Kashmir 3.10 m., Northern Areas 1.10 m. Total 4.20 m.

Grand total 13.65 m.

The estimated grand total represents an increase of about 60% since 1981 and of 239% since the last pre-independence census in 1941, when the total population of the state was 4.022 m.