Friday, 2 June 2017

Managing Urban India (Part II) (Urbanization an over view)

Dr. Devendra K. Kothari
Population and Development Analyst
Forum for Population Action

Urbanization refers to the increasing number of people that live in urban areas; and urban refers to a geographic territory. In India, the definition of an urban center has remained unchanged since 1961 thereby facilitating comparison of census data over time. The Census of India defines urban areas as settlements with a local urban body (like municipality, corporation, cantonment board, etc.) and/or with a population of at least 5,000 people, density of at least 400 people per square km, and at least 75 per cent of the male main working population engaged in non-agricultural activities. All areas which are not categorized as urban area are classified as rural Area.

Rapid urbanization is a phrase used by many to describe the urban transformations taking place across India. However, this is far from the truth. While India has experienced rapid urban growth, its pace of urbanization has been abysmally slow. India’s urbanization rate or the proportion of people living in urban areas increased from 17.3 per cent in 1951 to 31.2 per cent in 2011 (Table 2). On the other hand, by the end of 2015, 55 per cent of the total population of China lived in urban areas, a dramatic increase from 12 per cent in 1950 and 26 per cent in 1990.

Table 2: Urban Population in India, 1901-2011
Census year
Total population
(in million)
Total rural population
(in million)
Total urban population
(in million)
Decadal net addition to the urban population
(In million)
Urban population as % of total pop.
Number of cities and towns
1
2
3
4

5
6
1901
238
213
26
-
10.8
1,830
1951
361
299
62
-
17.3
2,822
1961
439
360
79
17
18.0
2,334
1971
548
439
109
30
19.9
2,567
1981
683
524
160
51
23.3
3,347
1991
846
629
218
58
25.7
3,769
2001
1,027
742
285
67
27.8
5,161
2011
1,210
833
377
92
31.2
7,935
Source: Census of India, 2001


As per Census 2011, the total population of India at 0.00 hours of 1st March 2011 was 1210.2 MILLION. Of this, 833.1 million were residing in 6, 40,867 villages (rural population) and remaining 377.1 million were enumerated in 7,935 towns (urban population). Rural – Urban distribution was 68.8 per cent and 31.2 percent, respectively. During 2001-11, 183 million people were added to the total population. For the first time since Independence, the absolute increase in population was slightly more in urban areas that in rural areas: 92 million versus 91 million (Table 3). Uttar Pradesh had the largest rural population of 155.3 million (18.6% of the country’s rural population) whereas Maharashtra has the highest urban population of 50.8 million (13.5%) in the country. The current population of India is 1,339 million as on March 1, 2017, based on the latest United Nations estimates; and 32.8 per cent or 440 million its population is residing in urban areas.


Table 3: Population of India, 2001 and 2011

2001
2011
Difference
1
2
3
4
Total population in million
India
1029
1210
181
Rural
743
833
90
Urban
286
377
91
Growth rate of population in percent

1991-2001
2001-2011
Difference
India
21.5
17.6
-3.9
Rural
18.1
12.2
-5.9
Urban
31.5
31.8
+0.3
Source : Census of India 2011, Rural-urban Distribution of Population


Emerging North-South divide:
In Table 4 we have provided data showing the varying levels of urbanization across the states of India. NCT Delhi and small states (like Goa), nowhere has urbanization crossed 50 percent mark. Highest proportion of urban population was in NCT Delhi (97.5%) followed by Goa (62.2%) in 2011. Among the 17 major states of India, having population 25 million or more, Tamil Nadu topped the list of urbanized states with 48.4 per cent of its population living in urban areas, followed by Kerala (47.7%), Maharashtra (45.2%) and Gujarat (42.6%), as per the Census 2011. The lowest level of urbanization was recorded in Bihar (11.3%), closely followed by Assam (14. 1%) and, Orissa (16.7%). All the Four Large North Indian States or so-called BIMARU States recorded low level of urbanization. The urbanization rates for the southern states are now inching towards the 50 per cent mark while many of the northern states are still stuck at rates below 28 per cent (Table 4). 1

Table 4: ranking of major States having population of 25 million or more of India by level of urbanization, 2011.
State
Level of urbanization
(% of total population)
Population
(in Million)
Number of urban Centres including urban agglomerations with population one million and more



Urban
Total
Number
1
2
3
4
6
Tamil Nadu
48.4
34.9
72.1
4
Kerala
47.7
15.9
33.4
7
Maharashtra
45.2
50.8
112.4
6
Gujarat
42.6
25.7
60.4
4
Karnataka
38.6
23.6
61.1
1
Punjab
37.5
10.4
27.7
2
Haryana
35.0
8.8
25.3
1
Andhra Pradesh (Including Telangana)
33.5
28.3
84.7
3
West Bengal
32.0
29.1
91.3
2
INDIA
31.2
377.1
1,210.2
53
Madhya Pradesh
27.6
20.1
72.6
4
Rajasthan
24.9
17.1
68.6
3
Jharkhand
24.0
7.9
32.9
3
Chhattisgarh
23.2
5.9
25.5
2
Uttar Pradesh
22.3
44.5
199.6
7
Orissa
16.7
7.0
41.9
-
Assam
14.1
4.4
31.2
-
Bihar
11.3
11.7
103.8
1
Remaining 3 million cities or urban agglomerations are: NCT Delhi, Srinagar and Chandigarh.

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, 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.

Urban concentration:
Table 5 shows the percentage of urban population by size class of cities in 2011. The pattern of urbanization in India is characterized by continuous concentration of population and activities in big cities. During the years, it is found that there has been a nonstop concentration of population in mega cities and decline in medium and small towns and cities. It is important to note that number of cities by size class has increased in all categories except class VI.

At the Census 2011 there are 7,933 cities and towns in the country. The number of towns has increased by 2,772 since last Census. Many of these towns are part of UAs (Urban Agglomerations) and the rest are statuary or independent towns. The total number of Urban Agglomerations/Towns, which constitutes the urban frame, is 6166 in the country.

The UAs/Towns which have at least 1, 00,000 persons as population are categorized as Class I cities. At the Census 2011, there were 496 such cities. The corresponding number in Census 2001 was 422. 264 million persons, constituting around 70 per cent of the total urban population, live in these cities. The proportion has increased considerable over the last Census. In the remaining classes of towns the growth has been nominal.

The Indian urban structure is ‘top heavy’. Each consecutive census is pointing towards greater concentration of urban population in class I cities. Of the 377 million individuals living in urban areas in 2011, 43 percent live in the cities or urban agglomerations with a population of over 1 million. The number of urban agglomerations or cities with a population of at least one million increased from 35 in 2001 to 53 in 2011. Uttar Pradesh and Kerala have 7 such cities each while Maharashtra has 6 such cities.

Among the 53 million cities, the three largest mega cities with a population of more than 10 million are Greater Mumbai UA (18.4 million), Delhi UA (16.3 million) and Kolkata UA (14.1 million). These are followed by Chennai UA (8.7 million), Bangalore UA (8.5 million), Hyderabad (7.7million), Ahmadabad (6.4million), Pune (5.1 million), Surat (4.6 million) and Jaipur (3.1 million). These ten cities contain 25 per cent of total urban population of India (99 million) in 2011.

The growth in population in the three mega cities with over 10 million has slowed down in the period 2001-11, showing declining attraction towards mega cities. While the population of Greater Mumbai UA grew at 30.47 percent in 1991-2001, it grew only at 12.05 percent in the period 2001-2011. The population growth of urban agglomeration of Delhi declined from 52.24 percent to 26.69 percent while in case of Kolkata UA it declined from 19.60 percent to 6.87 percent. In addition to these three mega cities, there are other million cities too which have witnessed a decline in the population growth and the reduction cannot be solely attributed to a decline in the fertility rate. It is interesting to note that the core areas of the mega cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata show deceleration in their growth rates. These cities are losing the poor because they cannot afford to live there.

The picture regarding small and medium towns’ growth, having population leas than 100,000 is not clear, but there numbers have been increasing very fast. The number of such towns at the national level increased from 4739 to 7,437 – a net addition of 2,758 towns during 2001-11. Overall, the emerging form of urbanization, dominated by large number of medium and small towns, is good for a balanced urbanization. However, there is need for further studies to understand the growth pattern of small and medium towns in more detail.

Table 5: Distribution of urban centres by size, 2011
Class
Total Cities/Towns and difference

Percent of total towns 2011
Per cent of total urban population
2011
Total urban population
(in million)
2011
2001
(2)-(3)



1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Class I
496
422
74
6.2
70.0
263.9
Class II
600
504
96
7.6
8.1
30.5
Class III
1913
1396
517
24.1
11.7
44.1
Class IV
2237
1564
673
28.2
5.6
21.3
Class V
2188
1043
1145
27.6
3.1
11.5
Class VI
499
232
267
6.3
1.5
5.5








Total
7933
5161
2772
100.0
100.0
377.1
Source: Calculations based on Census of India data, 2001 and 2011

In short, the emerging form of urbanization is spatially distributed dominated by large number of medium and small towns. 2

The next post discusses: Why pace of urbanization is slow?









[1] Source: Worldometers (www.Worldometers.info). Also see: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/india-population/

[2] Kundu (2011) gives a useful account of the history of urbanization in India in the colonial and post period. For derails see at: https://www.uniassignment.com/essay-samples/economics/reasons-for-urban-concentration-in-india-economics-essay.php


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