Surguja district has a population of 2,361,329 according to the 2011 census, roughly equivalent to the country of Latvia or the state of New Mexico in the US. It ranks 192nd in India (out of a total of 640). The district has a population density of 150 inhabitants per square kilometer (390 / sq mi). Its population growth rate in the decade 2001-2011 was 19.74%. Surguja has a sex ratio of 976 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 61.16%.
The major population consists of tribal population. Among the primitive tribes are the Pandas and Korvas, who still live in the forest. The Pando tribe consider themselves members of the “Pandava” dynasty of the epic Mahabharata. The Korwa tribe considers themselves members of the “Kauravas” of the 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 920 females per 1000 males and 11.3% of the population was under six years of age. Effective literacy was 88.20%; Male literacy was 92.73% and female literacy was 83.29%.
The moderate weather makes it an attractive place to live. Unlike the capital, the district population consists of tribal populations including 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 occupation of Tibet in 1959.