Five states home to over 50% of India's slums: Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Bihar top list

By Vipul Vivek

The top five states by number of slums per 100 households – Chhattisgarh (18), Odisha (17), Jharkhand (14), Tamil Nadu (11) and Bihar (10) – in 2008-09, the latest year for which household data are available, had 51 percent of India’s slums, according to a new paper.

The top five by number of slums per 100 households are the only states/union territories with more than 10 percent of their population living in slums, said the September 2017 paper by HS Chopra, project director in Rajasthan’s rural development department.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters


In 2008-09, Tamil Nadu had the highest share of India’s slums at 931,169 or 30 percent, the only state/union territory with a share in double digits.

Households that lacked a concrete roof, drinking water, a latrine and closed drainage – the criteria laid down by an August 2010 report of the slum census committee – in the 2008-09 survey data of the National Sample Survey Office, India’s official socio-economic surveyor, were counted as slums.

Source: Ministry Of Statistics & Programme Implementation; Data not available for other states

A  slum is defined as “a compact settlement of at least 20 households with slum-like conditions as given in the above criteria”, according to the paper.

Overall, 3.15 million–about 28 percent less than the Census 2011 figure of 4.4 million – or 5 percent of India’s households were slums in 2008-09.

The only communities with more than 10 percent of their population living in slums were scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, deprived communities identified in India’s constitution for government support.

India’s Slums By Community
CasteSlum households (In million)Total households (In million)Slum households (As percent of total households)
Scheduled Tribes0.252.1811.47
Scheduled Castes1.029.5910.64
Other Backward Classes1.3625.15.42
Other Castes0.5229.51.76

Source: Ministry Of Statistics & Programme Implementation

In urban India, 60 percent slums are on government land with 40 percent owned by urban local bodies, according to the draft National Urban Rental Housing Policy 2015.

The share of slums with a health centre and a primary school within 1 km fell 16 and 3 percentage points, respectively, to 47 percent and 87 percent in 2009 from 63 percent and 90 percent in 1993, according to the housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry’s 2015 statistical compendium on slums.

In Mumbai–home to the world’s third largest slum by population, Dharavi – 90 percent of deaths result from respiratory diseases, according to a survey by International Institute of Population Sciences, Mumbai, the Indian Express reported on August 7, 2015. Apart from Dharavi, slums in Mumbai’s suburbs too were growing to become at least as big as Dharavi, the Times Of India reported on July 6, 2011. Despite having India’s largest slums, only 3.7 percent of Maharashtra’s 9.8 million households were in slums, and only one in 100 households in the state was in a slum in 2008-09.

Slum dwellers often sell homes that the government relocates them to because these end up being far from their workplaces, according to Saudamini Das at Delhi University’s Institute Of Economic Growth, City Labs reported on June 9, 2017.

Possible solutions
  • Give unconditional no-eviction guarantee: Mukta Naik, Centre For Policy Research, to the Indian Express on May 12, 2017

Published Date: Oct 26, 2017 03:49 pm | Updated Date: Oct 26, 2017 03:56 pm



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