Mumbai, India

by Neelima Risbud

According to the provisional results of the 2001 Census of India the population of India has passed the one billion mark with a sharp decline from its decadal growth rate of 21.34 per cent over the last five decades. The urban population constitutes 27.8 per cent of the total, with a decadal growth rate of 31.2 per cent. The level of urbanisation is 2.1 per cent higher than in 1991. The density of population has increased steadily from 117 persons per km2 in 1951 to 324 persons per km2 in 2001. Urban agglomerations or cities with a population of more than one million have increased from 22 in 1991 to 35 in 2001 with Greater Mumbai being the largest at 16.4 million. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region is the largest urban agglomeration in the country.

For the first time detailed data on slum areas in the country have been collected in the 2001 census. The total slum population in the country is 40.3 million comprising 22.6 percent of the total urban population of the towns which reported slums. The largest slum population was registered in the State of Maharashtra. Around 6 per cent of Maharashtra’s population lives in the slums of the state capital, Greater Mumbai.

Mumbai, originally a group of seven marshy islands on the west coast of India and a fishing village until the 16th century, was ceded by the Moguls to the Portuguese in the 1630s. Later the King of England leased it to the East India Company. It developed as an important port, used by the British for more than two centuries. The city started growing after the cottongrowing areas of the hinterland were connected to Mumbai by rail, which facilitated the supply of cotton to factories in England. By 1864, the city’s population had reached 817,000. With the growth of manufacturing units for cotton textiles, by 1888 Mumbai had emerged as the second largest commercial centre in India after Calcutta. The city gradually became more and more industrialised and attracted a massive supply of skilled and unskilled labour from all over the country. The growth of the city was steady as its manufacturing sector became more diversified with the expansion into the chemicals industry, basic metal and engineering products. The city of Mumbai was the first in the country to have a municipal corporation, created through special provincial legislation in 1888. After independence in 1947, the growth of the port, the discovery of offshore oil, the emergence of financial services, the development of national and international trade and the establishment of many public sector units and educational institutions gave further impetus to the growth of the city. Mumbai also became the capital of the State of Maharashtra, adding further to its administrative importance.

This summary has been extracted from:

UN-Habitat (2003) Global Report on Human Settlements 2003, The Challenge of Slums, Earthscan, London; Part IV: 'Summary of City Case Studies', pp195-228.
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2003 Development Planning Unit | Anna Soave | Khanh Tran-Thanh