As the world welcomed its symbolic seven millionth babies in India and the Philippines yesterday, the preliminary Census 2011 report billed Mumbai as India’s most populated city, again. That is despite a sharp dip in the growth rate of population in the city. On the list released in Monday, Mumbai with a population of over 1.84 crore people is followed closely by Delhi at 1.63 crore and Kolkata at 1.41 crore.
This makes these three cities ‘mega-cities’ with 10 million-plus population.
But looked at in terms of urban agglomeration (UA) — extended city or town area comprising the built-up area of a central place and suburbs linked by continuous urban area — Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) that includes Delhi Central, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad beats Mumbai with a population of 2.17 crore. Compared to this, Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) that comprises Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Vasai-Virar, Bhiwandi and Panvel, has a population 2.07 crore.
Provisional results released in April this year had shown that within MMR, Thane and suburban Mumbai constitute the two most populous districts in the state, even though the rate of population growth has actually slowed down. The Indian Express reported:
The percentage of growth in population in Thane district has come down from 54.92 percent during 1991-2001 to 35.94 percent in 2001-11. For suburban Mumbai, the rate of growth has dropped sharply from 27.99 per cent in 1991-2001 to 8.01 percent over the last decade, while it was over 100 percent during 1960s and 1970s.
The Times of India reported on 31 October this year that in Navi Mumbai the average family size has gone down from 4.01 in 2000 to 3.7 in 2010. This the report attributed to increasing household income , home ownership and an influx of working-age people.
The sharpest dip in growth rate, however is in Mumbai itself, where the population has fallen by 5.75 percent as compared to that reported in the 2001 census — from 33,38,031 in 2001 to 31,45,966 in 2011.
That does nothing to ease the city’s population density, though. While the national figure for density is 382 people per square km Mumbai is 20,925 per square km.