The main concentration of Kharia tribe in Jharkhand is in the districts of Ranchi, Gumla, Lohardaga, West and East Singhbhum and Hazaribagh of Jharkhand state. The total population of Kharia tribe is 1,14,771 according to 1981 census in combined Bihar.
Kharia tribe belongs to Proto-Austroloid race and speaks Kharia dialects of Austro-Asiatic language family. This tribe also speaks Hindi, Sadani and other local dialects.
The main sources of livelihood of Kharia tribe is agriculture, minor forest products collection and labour on daily wages. Fishing, Hunting and Animal Husbandry are practised as subsidiary occupations.]
The Kharias are divided into three sections namely The Dudh, Dhelki and Hill Kharia. The Hill Kharias are a most primitive community. They depend upon forest resources such as collection of honey, edible roots, fruits and herbs. The other sections of the Kharias have been taken to plough cultivation and are better off than the Hill Kharias.The Hill Kharia is most primitive community. A Hill Kharia house consists of only one room which is used as bed room, store room, kitchen and guest room.
Family is the hub of social organization in the Kharia society. Most of the families of this tribe are nuclear. Generally the children set up their independent family after marriage. The Kharias have partlineal, patrilocal and patriarchal family. Among them clan system is strongly prevelant. The totem objects are not injured or eaten. The names of clans among Kharia are Gulgu, Bhuiya, Jaru, Badya, Tesa and Hembrom etc. The names of clans among Delkhi Kharia tribe are Muru, Soren, Samad, Barliha, Charha, Hansda, Topno, Mail etc. are the names of clans among Dudh. The marriagewithin the clan does not have sanction from the society. The Kinship organizations of the Kharia is of the classificatory type. The Kharias are monogamous but polygamy is tolerated. The Bride price is an essential part of the marriage of Kharia tribe. To avoid the brideprice, Kharias practice marriage by exchange in which sisters are exchanged by two men as wives.
Kharia tribe worships numerous Gods and Spirits. Their religious head is called Pahan by the Dudh and Dhelki Kharias and Dihuri by the Hill Kharias. This is a hereditary post. The Kharias worship the Giring or Bero at all religious ceremonies. They also practice ancestor worship known as Burha Burhi or Marsi Masan. The deceased ancestors are invoked at all religious ceremonies. They live near the oven. The mountain spirits are known by the names of the hill in which they reside. They are invoked before hunting and for rain.
The Kharias follow all the local religious ceremonies and festivals along with the traditional local ones.Their main festivals are Karma, Sohrai, Sarhul, Nawakhani etc. as Munda and Oraon tribes celebrate.