According to the 2011 census Surguja district has a population of 2,361,329, roughly equal to the nation of Latvia or the US state of New Mexico. This gives it a ranking of 192nd in India (out of a total of 640). The district has a population density of 150 inhabitants per square kilometre (390/sq mi). Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 19.74%. Surgujahas a sex ratio of 976 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 61.16%.
The major population comprises tribal population. Among the primitive tribes are Pando and Korwa, who still live in the forest. The Pando tribe believes themselves to be members of the “Pandav” clan of epic Mahabharata. The Korwa tribe believes themselves to be members of the “Kauravs” of Mahabharata.
As per the 2011 census, Ambikapur municipal corporation had a population of 214,575 and the urban agglomeration had a population of 243,173. The municipality had a sex ratio of 920 females per 1,000 males and 11.3% of the population was under six years old. Effective literacy was 88.20%; male literacy was 92.73% and female literacy was 83.29%.
Ambikapur is inhabited by people from across India. Moderate weather makes it an attractive place for settlement. Unlike the capital, the district population comprises aboriginal populations including the Pandos and Korwas, who still live in rural areas.
Ambikapur is home to a large number of Tibetan migrants who took refuge in India after the Chinese annexation of Tibet in 1959.