Essay on the Level of Urbanization in India


According to the Census of India 2001, 27.8 per cent of the total population of India lived in urban areas. It can be noted that the percentage of people living in urban areas has increased by only 2.1 percentage points during 1991-2001. In 2001, 285.35 million people lived in urban India (around 28 per cent).

Again as in 1991, the degree of urbanization is not uniform in all states and Union Territories, which presents the percentages of urban population in states and union territories for 2001 and 1991.

It can be seen that three Union Territories, namely, Delhi (93 per cent urban) Chandigarh (89.8 per cent urban) and Pondicherry (66.6 per cent urban) top the list. Among major states, Tamil Nadu, with 43.9 per cent of the population living in urban areas, tops the list.


Maharashtra with 42.4 per cent living in urban areas gets second position and Gujarat (37.4 per cent urban) comes third. It should be noted that in 1991, Maharashtra occupied the first position. In 2001, it is Tamil Nadu which is occupying the first position.

Himachal Pradesh, with 9.8 per cent population living in urban areas, is the least urbanized state. Bihar is second from the bottom (10.5 per cent living in urban areas).

As pointed out earlier, Indian towns are classified into six categories according to population size. It is evident from that in 1991 about 65 per cent of the Indian urban population was concentrated in cities with a population of 1.00, 000 and more, while in 1981 this percentage was 60.4.

Over the years the share of the Class I towns in the Indian urban population has been increasing. It is also observed that as compared to 1981, the contribution of Class II, Class III, Class IV and Class V towns to the urban population was less in 1991.


Eleven more cities have crossed the one million mark according to the 1991 census. They now join Kolkata, Greater Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kanpur, Pune, Nagpur, Lucknow and Jaipur as big cities or urban agglomerations. Together these 23 cities and urban agglomerations account for nearly one-third of the urban population of India.

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