Urban population growth: implications for India and South Asia.


In India more than 1/2 the total urban population is concentrated in the 6 cities with populations of 1 million or more. Densities in some areas of these cities reach 100,000-500,000 people per square mile. In Calcutta an estimated 600,000 people live on the pavement because they are too poor to afford shelter. Large cities in developing areas tend to draw migrants not only from rural areas but also from smaller towns. These people are disproportionately single, better educated, with higher occupational level. The smaller town is the poorer because they have left. Cities also draw the hopeless and the landless and, in addition, have high fertility rates. All Asian countries have a large dependency ratio. A drop in dependency ratio would help offset the high proportion of gross national product (GNP) which has to be reinvested just to keep per capita income at a constant level. In India this largely demographi c investment exceeds 1% of the GNP. Because of the improved infant survival rates combined with high birthrates between 1955-1965, the labor force will increase very rapidly between 1970-1980 in South Asia. This problem of finding employment will be aggravated in urban centers due to migration. As the number of frustrated rural dwellers come to the cities hoping for work and finding none, they become a force threatening stability. Industries must be decentralized to revitalize rural areas. Housing schemes and vigorous birth control projects must be put into force to eliminate slum conditions and squatters. In Asia industrailization and urbanization are in the early stages; if housing is as bad as it is today, what will it be like when industrialization becomes advanced? The money now spent aimlessly on wandering beggars needs to be funneled into health and welfare systems to raise their level. Education and transportation are critically strained by Asia's urbanization. According to Kingsley Davis, even if Asia had 100% effective family planning so that each couple had only the children desired, there would still be a population crisis because of the social structure which motivates couples to have large families. More education for women seems to be the answer. Women with primary education tend to have 6.6 children; with middle school education, 5.0; high school, 4.6; and those with some university, 2.0.

Cite this paper

@article{Murickan1974UrbanPG, title={Urban population growth: implications for India and South Asia.}, author={J Murickan}, journal={Social action}, year={1974}, volume={24}, pages={158-74} }