There are 43.31 lakh handloom workers in the country, out of which 36.33 workers stay in rural areas and 6.98 workers stay in urban areas. According to the Handloom Census 2009-10, handloom Industry in India employs over four million people in India. Handloom is the largest sector providing employment to people in India after the agricultural.
Majority of the weavers are located in rural India. In terms of households nearly 27.83 lakh handloom households are engaged in weaving and allied activities, out of which 87 per cent are located in rural areas and remaining 13 per cent in urban areas.
The fact that only 15 per cent weaver households have pucca houses shows that marginalised and relatively low income status of handloom weaves. Most of the handloom weavers live in kutcha(54%) or semi-pucca (31%) houses. Most of the households staying in kuchha houses are in rural areas.
Almost 50 per cent of the weavers are women. However, there major differences in the gender composition of the adult handloom work force between the North-Eastern and other states. The North-Eastern states have a predominantly female (99%) adult work force. In states outside the North-East, male handloom workers are present in significant numbers (44%). States that have a high proportion of male handloom workers are Uttar Pradesh (50%), Andhra Pradesh (49%), Tamil Nadu (47%) and Karnataka (46%).
(Source: Handloom Census 2009-10, NCAER)