Is Mumbai overpopulated

Country and population

India is one of the poorer countries, but in terms of population, expansion, linguistic and religious diversity, it is a country of superlatives. Supported by high growth rates, it has all the potential of a future world power.

Most of the people work in the informal sector. (& copy Arnab Chatterjee)

With an area of ​​almost 3.3 million square kilometers, India is the seventh largest country in terms of area and with around 1.1 billion inhabitants (2006) it is the most populous country in the world after China; it is also one of the most densely populated countries with around 351 inhabitants per square kilometer, although this density varies greatly from region to region. In the urban agglomerations it is more than 6000, in the peripheral, mountain and desert regions it is less than 100 people per square kilometer. Large parts of the country, especially those that are used intensively for agriculture, can be described as overpopulated. However, population growth has fallen from over two percent per year in the early 1980s to 1.4 percent in 2006, and it is even lower in urban areas. Because the Indian population is on average still quite young, the potential workforce will continue to increase in the coming decades. The Indian subcontinent is still strongly characterized by village structures, a little more than 70 percent of the population still live in the countryside, and urban-rural migration is comparatively low. Nonetheless, India has, alongside China, most of the megacities with over five million inhabitants, including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru.

Source text

The Indians are coming

[...] "At the stroke of the clock at midnight, when the world is asleep, India will awaken to life and freedom", Jawaharlal Nehru had called out to his young nation from the ballroom of parliament on the evening of August 14, 1947, when India was over a hundred and fifty years old Colonial times under the British gained its sovereignty. The founder of the state spoke of "dreams", the realization of which would be significant not only for his country but "for the whole world". Sixty years after India's awakening, the world has now woken up. She has to acknowledge, sometimes irritated, that a colossus has grown up on the subcontinent that will help determine world events in the future. Economically and politically: The Indians are coming, nothing will work against them in the future.

India had a population of just under 350 million when it gained independence. Today there are more than 1.1 billion. Half of them are not even twenty-five years old. A demography of the "minimum" is by no means the case here, because many children remain the only old-age security, especially in the backward rural regions. Only around five percent of the population are over the retirement age of sixty-five, compared to 19 percent in Germany. Soon the second largest nation on earth will be their largest. That is when the elephant overtakes the dragon in the race between the Asian giants, who make up almost 40 percent of the world's population. That should happen no later than 2034, when India overtakes China with 1.46 billion people and swells to 1.6 billion by the middle of the century, while the number of Chinese is decreasing. India will have the most people of working age between twenty and sixty - 800 million, 220 million more than China. Asia as a whole, including Oceania, will make up 70 percent of the world's population around the middle of the century, and on the subcontinent alone, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will likely have 2.2 billion more people than the continents of America, Europe and Australia combined.
These are oppressive demographic prospects, especially from the perspective of graying shrunken Europeans who will no longer be playmakers in global events, but at best reserve players. But these prognoses are also problematic for the emerging countries themselves. Because social time bombs are ticking with them if there is not enough work for the millions of people.
The vast country remains the rural heart of the ancient, unchanging India. Almost 70 percent of all employees still earn their living in agriculture, with inadequate irrigation systems and dependent on the whims of the monsoon rains. That is why this sector is only growing by three percent, contributing only a quarter of the gross national product. The lion's share, however, a good 60 percent, is generated by the urban conurbations. They are the drive and engine of the new India and an impressive boom that is giving the cities an unprecedented consumption frenzy. As early as 2015, Bombay with twenty-two and Delhi with twenty-one million inhabitants will be the largest cities on this planet after Tokyo. [...]

Olaf Ihlau, "Der urbane Rausch", in: ders., Weltmacht India (series of bpb vol. 558), Bonn 2006, p. 63-82, here p. 65 ff.



India is a federal republic. It is divided into 28 federal states, six union territories and the capital New Delhi, which has its own status. The states differ considerably in size and population, but also in the level of social and economic development they have achieved and in their development dynamics. In the richest state of Punjab, the average income is now four and a half times higher than in Bihar, which is considered the poorest state; the dynamic states, such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Karnataka, are currently growing twice as fast as the rest. In terms of social development, some Indian states, such as Kerala, can easily keep up with Eastern Europe, others like Bihar and Orissa are no different from poorest Africa in this regard. There are also great differences within the states; Here, backward districts have a child mortality rate that is three times as high as that of the progressive ones. Underprivileged social groups are still the undercastes (Dalits), the tribesmen, the Muslims, the rural population and, albeit to a decreasing extent, the women.

In economic terms, India, with a per capita income of US $ 770 (2006), still belongs to the group of poor, although admittedly the fastest growing countries. Almost 60 percent of employees still work in agriculture - with a 22 percent share of the gross domestic product, the agricultural sector is overshadowed by the much faster growing industry (24 percent) and the service sector (54 percent). As far as the political system is concerned, India is one of the very few states in the so-called Third World with a consistent democratic basic order since independence (1947). Democratic traditions are therefore deeply rooted in society and are not taken seriously by any political force questioned.

India has two large and two smaller language families. Almost three quarters of the population speak one of the Indo-Aryan languages ​​widespread in the northern half of the country, around a third speak Hindi, which is the only national official language alongside English. Another quarter of the population speaks one of the South Indian, Dravidian languages. 22 regional languages ​​are constitutionally recognized. The religious diversity of India is also remarkable; Although a little over 80 percent of Indians are Hindus, the Muslim population is considerable at around 140 million. The country is also home to various religions that emerged as a counter-movement to Hinduism (Buddhism, Jainism) or as a reaction to the invasion of Islam (Sikhism). Finally, there is also a declining Christian minority (around two percent of the population). The Hindus (and also other religious groups, at least in fact) are divided into castes, that is, into groups that used to pursue the same profession and mostly marry one another. A distinction is made between the higher castes (best known here are the Brahmins), the lower castes (Other Backward Castes), to which the bulk of the Hindu population belongs, and the "untouchables" (Dalits, about 15 percent of the population), which are often wrongly described as casteless ). In addition, there are tribesmen (around 8.2 percent), the descendants of the indigenous population.