Rural Health Statistics, 2020-21


The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, released its annual publication Rural Health Statistics for 2020-21 on May 5, 2022. The report provides an overview of the infrastructure existing at various levels of healthcare facilities across states and union territories in the country. It contains data from sub centres (SCs), primary health centres (PHCs), community health centres (CHCs), sub-divisional hospitals and district hospitals up to March 31, 2021. In some cases, this period extends to July 1, 2021. The report aims to aid policy makers, non-governmental organisations and researchers identify gaps in the public healthcare system in the country and manage it effectively.

The 240-page report has two parts: Part 1 contains an overview of India’s healthcare system and Part 2, divided into nine sections, provides detailed state-wise healthcare statistics. Part 2 covers comparative statements about Indian health infrastructure from 2005 to 2021 (Section I); district-wise healthcare infrastructure (Section II); demographic indicators (Section III); healthcare infrastructure and building position (Section IV); status of health manpower in rural areas (Section V); status of health infrastructure in rural areas (Section VI); status of infrastructure and health manpower in urban areas (Section VII); ‘parameters of achievement’ in rural healthcare (Section VIII); and health infrastructure and manpower in tribal areas (Section IX).


  1. India’s estimated mid-year population in July 2021 was 1.36 billion – around 895 million in rural areas and more than 472 million in urban areas. The percentage of rural population reduced from 68.9 per cent in 2011 to 65.5 per cent in 2021.

  2. The total population density of the country in 2021 was 418 persons per square kilometre. The population density in urban areas (4,619 persons per square kilometre) was almost 16 times greater than the density in rural areas (290 persons per square kilometre).

  3. There were 157,819 sub centres (SCs), 30,579 primary health centres (PHCs) and 5,951 community health centres (CHCs) functioning in India in 2021. Of these 156,101 SCs, 25,140 PHCs and 5,481 CHCs were situated in rural areas. Over the years, several PHCs have been upgraded to the level of CHCs in many states, the report states.

  4. There has been an increase of 697 SCs, 222 PHCs and 298 CHCs in rural areas of the country since March 2020.

  5. As per the report, there were 26,351 SCs, 3,966 PHCs and 975 CHCs functioning in tribal areas as on March 31, 2021. This marks a deficit (difference between the number required and the number that exists) of 8,503 SCs, 1,464 PHCs and 347 CHCs.

  6. The number of sub divisional hospitals in India, providing services in both rural and urban areas was 1,224 on March 31, 2021. There were 764 district hospitals in the country as on March 31, 2021, the report notes.

  7. As of July 1, 2021, the average rural population covered by one SC was 5,734 people. On an average, a single PHC covered 35,602 people in rural areas whereas one CHC covered 163,298 people in rural areas.

  8. The number of SCs, PHCs and CHCs increased between 2005 and 2021, the report notes. At the national level, the number of SCs increased by 10,075, marking an increase of about 6.9 per cent. Total number of PHCs grew by 1,904 or by 8.2 per cent. CHCs also increased by 2,135 centres, marking a rise of 63.8 per cent.

  9. Between 2005-2021, the number of auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) at SCs and PHCs in rural areas increased from 133,194 to 214,820 (about 61.3 per cent), the report states. However, the number of ANMs dropped from 234,220 in March 2019 to 212,593 in March 2020.

  10. The number of allopathic doctors at PHCs in rural areas increased from 20,308 in 2005 to 31,716 in 2021. This was a rise by around 56.2 per cent.

  11. There has been an increase in the para medical staff – like lab technicians, nurses, radiographers – in PHCs and CHCs between 2020 and 2021. The number of lab technicians increased from 19,903 to 22,723 during this period. The number of pharmacists rose from 25,792 to 28,537. There was also an increase in the number of nursing staff from 71,847 to 79,044. On the other hand, the number of radiographers decreased from 2,434 in the year 2020 to 2,418 in the year 2021.

  12. Many of the sanctioned posts for medical staff in rural CHCs were reported to be vacant. As of March 31, there were numerous vacancies in rural CHCs for the posts of surgeons (72.3 per cent), obstetricians and gynaecologists (64.2 per cent), physicians (69.2 per cent), and paediatricians (67.1 per cent).

  13. In rural PHCs, 64.2 per cent of the sanctioned posts for health assistants (male and female) and 21.8 per cent of the sanctioned posts for allopathic doctors were vacant as of March 2021.

  14. In urban PHCs – as of March 31, 2021 – 27,195 ANMs were required, 26,137 were sanctioned, 20,937 were in position, and there were 5387 vacant positions.

    Focus and Factoids by Sukanya Khar.

    PARI Library's health archive project is part of an initiative supported by the Azim Premji University to develop a free-access repository of health-related reports relevant to rural India.


Statistics Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi


05 May, 2022