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Public Transport Planning and Management in Developing Countries
Chapter 2
Demography and Settlement Patterns
2.1 Introduction
India is a country located in South Asia that is home to the 2nd largest population in
the world (behind China) estimated at 1.2 billion as of the year 2011. India is the largest
democracy in the world, its official form of government being a federal constitutional repub-
lic. It also has the 7th largest geographical area in the world at 3,287,263 sq.km. It became
an independent nation on August 15, 1947 by gaining freedom from the British Empire
that was won by a peaceful resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi. For thousands of years
previous to that time, the Indus Valley civilization was located in India. Currently, India is
comprised of 29 states, 7 union territories, and 640 districts. In terms of religion, Hinduism
is the one with the most followers at 817,112,705 or 72.03% of the country. As for language,
Hindi is the most spoken first language with 180,764,791 speakers. India is a big continent,
it accounts for about 2.4 percent of the total surface area of the world. India is nearly
twenty times as large as Great Britain. Many of the Indian states are larger than several
countries of the world. Figure 2.1 indicates the Indian subcontinent with administrative
boundaries of different states. India is predominantly rural, but it also has many densely
populated metropolitan areas. Most of the land is inhabited except for the higher regions
of the Himalayan mountains. Since the time of the Indus Valley civilization, the key factor
that settlers have considered in deciding where to live in India has been the ability to have
continuous cultivation. This is mainly determined by water availability and soil fertility.
Figure 2.1: Map of India Indicating Different States
Source: www.mapsofindia.com
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Demography and Settlement Patterns
2.1.1 Definition of urban areas
In the case of India, census authorities adopted the following criteria for defining urban
a. All places with a municipality, corporation, cantonment board, notified town area com-
mittee, or other such places
b. All places which satisfy the following criteria:
i) A minimum population of 5000
ii) At least 75 percent of male working population engaged in nonagricultural pursuits
iii) A density of population of at least 400 persons per sq. km.
c. Besides the major project colonies, areas of industrial development, railway colonies, and
important tourist destinations were also treated as urban though they might not fulfill the
above criteria strictly.
2.1.2 Urban development in India
Only 25% of India’s population during 1981 lived in the 4500 areas of India that are clas-
sified as urban. Most of these urban areas are located in places where there is prosperous
agriculture which is in western, southern, and northwestern India though that is starting to
change. Urban growth is surprisingly faster than India’s rural growth even though there is
a high amount of congestion in most cities. The reason for this exponential urban growth is
due to the commercialization of the agricultural industry as well as the expansion of various
other industries such as manufacturing and services. Some urban areas were comparable to
major cities of the world in terms of urban population and density of population. The top
five major urban centers of India are:
1. Mumbai, 12,478,447
2. Delhi, 11,007,835
3. Kolkata, 4,486,679
4. Chennai, 4,681,087
5. Bangalore, 8,425,970
All these cities are experiencing traffic congestion during most of the day time in one locality
or another. Figure 2.2 illustrates a typical traffic jam in the city of Mumbai.
Figure 2.2: A Typical Traffic Jam in Mumbai
2.1.3 Rural settlement pattern
75% of India’s population lives in small villages with a few hundred people in a settlement.

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