Madhya Pradesh has the largest tribal population of the country, and 21% of its population is comprised of Scheduled Tribes (STs) as per Census 2011. The state has 46 recognised Scheduled Tribes, spread across the 52 districts in the state. Of this, three are Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG).
Major tribal groups in the state are Bhil, Gond, Kol, Kurku, Sahariya, and Baiga. These six tribal groups constitute more than 90 per cent of the tribal population of the state. The Bhil community comprises nearly 40 per cent of the total tribal population followed by the Gond tribe which constitutes another 34 per cent of the 1.53 crore tribal population.
Gonds are largely spread across eastern districts of Madhya Pradesh such as Mandla, Dindori, Anuppur, Umaria, Chhindwara, while the Bhils are found around western Madhya Pradesh districts of Barwani, Khandwa, Jhabua, Alirajpur and further extending into Rajasthan.
Scheduled Tribes live in all the districts of the state, however, the southern belt of the state, stretching neatly along Narmada River Basin, from Anuppur in the east to Barwani in the west houses most of the tribal population of the state.
There are 52 districts in Madhya Pradesh (as of May 2020), out of which in 22 districts, tribal population constitute more than 20% of the district’s population. Among these, in Alirajpur (89%), Jhabua (87%), Barwani (70%), Dindori (65%), Mandla (58%), and Dhar (56%), tribal population is more than 50% of the total population of the district.