Uttar Pradesh (Hindi: उत्तर प्रदेश, Urdu: اتر پردیش, pronounced [ʊt̪ːər prəd̪eːʃ] , translation: Northern Province), [often referred to as U.P.], located in central-south Asia and northern India, is the most populous and fifth largest state in the Republic of India. With a population exceeding that of France, Germany, and the Netherlands combined, it is the most populous sub-national division in the world. U.P. is also possibly the state with the largest number of million-plus cities (at least eight).
Uttar Pradesh covers a large part of the highly fertile and densely populated upper Gangetic plain. It shares an international border with Nepal and is bounded by the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar. The administrative and legislative capital of Uttar Pradesh is Lucknow, and the financial and industrial capital is Kanpur. The state is also home to the tourism capital of India, Agra. The state's high court is based at Allahabad. Other notable cities in Uttar Pradesh include Aligarh, Azamgarh, Bareilly, Faizabad, Ghaziabad, Gorakhpur, Jhansi, Lakhimpur Kheri, Mathura, Meerut, Moradabad, Muzaffarnagar, NOIDA (New Okhla Industrial Development Authority), Saharanpur and Varanasi (Banaras).
Uttar Pradesh (UP) is the most populous state in India, even after losing Uttarkhand, with an estimated population of 186.7 million as of 2007 and a land area of 238,566 km². One-sixth of the world’s population lives in India and one-sixth of India’s population lives in UP. Only five countries of the world, China, the United States, Indonesia, Brazil and India itself have populations larger than that of UP, and UP and Uttarkhand have more than Brazil. The population density of the state at 783 persons per km². is the fourth highest among major states in the country. The Indo-Gangetic plain spans most of the state, has been the seat of ancient Hindu culture, religion and learning and has always played a prominent role in Indian political and cultural movements.Hindus as religious group form about 81% of state population.At the beginning of the 20th century, the population of UP was only 49 million and increased very slowly until 1951 (0.52 percent per annum) to reach 63 million. This was the period marked by high birth and death rates. The population increased rapidly in the next five decades due to a faster decline in the death rate compared to the birth rate. The population of the state increased from 63 million in 1951 to about 170 million in 2000, an addition of 117 million in the last five decades compared to an addition of only 15 million in the previous five decades. The population of the state is increasing at 2.19 percent per year (SRS, 1998). This implies that the state at present is adding a population of 3.8 million every year and more than 11 million every three years.