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Urbanisation in India

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Title: Urbanisation in India  
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Subject: Social issues in India, Illegal housing in India, Urbanization, Pensions in India, Kiliroor sex scandal
Collection: Economy of India, Geography of India, Indian Society, Urban Studies and Planning, Urbanization
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Urbanisation in India

Mumbai, Maharashtra is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million.

Urbanization in India began to accelerate after independence, due to the country's adoption of a mixed economy, which gave rise to the development of the private sector. Urbanisation is taking place at a faster rate in India. Population residing in urban areas in India, according to 1901 census, was 11.4%.[1] This count increased to 28.53% according to 2001 census, and crossing 30% as per 2011 census, standing at 31.16%.[2][3] According to a survey by UN State of the World Population report in 2007, by 2030, 40.76% of country's population is expected to reside in urban areas.[4] As per World Bank, India, along with China, Indonesia, Nigeria, and the United States, will lead the world's urban population surge by 2050.[2]

Mumbai saw large scale rural-urban migration in the 21st century.[see main] Mumbai accommodates 12.5 million people, and is the largest metropolis by population in India, followed by Delhi with 11 million inhabitants. Witnessing the fastest rate of urbanisation in the world, as per 2011 census, Delhi's population rose by 4.1%, Mumbai's by 3.1% and Kolkata's by 2% as per 2011 census compared to 2001 census. Estimated population, at the current rate of growth, by year 2015; Delhi stands at 26 million; Mumbai at 24 million, Kolkata at 16 million, Bangalore at 11 million, Chennai, and Hyderabad at 10 million.


  • History 1
    • The transition period 1.1
    • Modern India 1.2
  • Causes of urbanization in India 2
  • Consequences of urbanization 3
  • Urban unemployment 4
  • References 5
  • Bibliography 6


The transition period

After independence, India faced poverty, unemployment, and economic backwardness. The first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, focused on the domain of science and technology, for the sake of economic development.[5] The mixed economy system was adopted, resulting in the growth of the Public sector in India.[6]

Modern India

The contribution of the agricultural sector to the GDP of India started to decline and the percentage contribution from secondary sector increased. The period after 1941, witnessed rapid growth of four metropolitan cities in India, which were Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai.[8] The nation's economy saw a rise due to industrial revolution and the invention of new technologies increased the standard of living of people living in urban areas.[9] The growth of public sector resulted in development of public transport, roads, water supply, electricity, and hence the infrastructure of urban areas.

Maharashtra was the most urbanized state in India till 1991, stood behind Tamil Nadu in 2001 and third after it in 2011, with Kerala being second,[10] with the urban-total state population ratio. However, Maharashtra's urban population of 41 million, far exceeds that of Tamil Nadu which is at 27 million, as per the 2001 census.[11]

Causes of urbanization in India

The main causes of urbanization in India are:

Consequences of urbanization

A slum in Chennai

Rapid rise in urban population, in India, is leading to many problems like increasing slums, decrease in standard of living in urban areas, also causing environmental damage.[19]

The Industrial Revolution in the 18th century caused countries like United States and England to become superpower nations but the present condition is worsening. India's urban growth rate is 2.07% which seems to be significant compared to Rwanda with 7.6%. India has around 300 million people living in metropolitan areas.[20] This has greatly caused slum problems, with so many people over crowding cities and forcing people to live in unsafe conditions which also includes illegal buildings. Water lines,roads and electricity are lacking which is causing fall of living standards. It is also adding to the problem of all types of pollution.[21]

Urbanization also results in a disparity in the market, owing to the large demands of the growing population and the primary sector struggling to cope with them.[22]

Allan Chirare, 15 August 2015 quotes: "Urbanization is just becoming a disaster to the city of Mumbai in India."

Urban unemployment



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Category of persons Male Female Person
Unemployment rate (per 1000 persons in the labour force) 30 52 34


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