In large scale deployment of fingerprint recognition systems, especially in Indian environment, there are some challenges involved. Along with sensor noise and poor image quality, presence of scars, warts, and deteriorating ridge/minutiae patterns in fingerprints from rural population affects the data distribution. In other words, quality of fingerprint patterns, particularly belonging to rural Indian population, may differ from standard urban or western population and may be difficult to process. Since there is no study that analyzes fingerprint images in Indian context, this paper presents an analytical study using standard fingerprint image quality assessment tool and fingerprint databases collected from the rural and urban Indian population. On a database of over 0.25 million images, we observed that the worn and damaged patterns lead to poor quality ridges and therefore can affect the performance. Also, region specific causes such as manual labor and Law-sonia Inermis also degrade the quality of fingerprints. © 2010 IEEE.