In a first for Indian states, the population density of Bihar and West Bengal has breached the 1,000 mark. This makes them more populous than even a sizeable country such as neighbouring Bangladesh, an HT analysis shows.
Population density is defined as the number of people per sq km area.
According to the Primary Census Abstract 2011 released last week, Bihar has a population density of 1,106 people per sq km, while West Bengal is in second place with 1,028. (Bihar has thus also displaced the latter for the top spot, as its density in 2001 was 881, second to West Bengal’s 903.)
By comparison, the population density of Bangladesh is 964 (India’s is 382), says the 2011 preliminary report of the Population and Housing Census of Bangladesh. With an area of 1,47,570 sq km, Bangladesh has the highest population density in the world for a country of its size. While Monaco, Singapore, Bahrain, Maldives and Malta are all more densely populated, the area of each country is less than 1,000 sq km.
The rise in the population densities of Bihar and West Bengal, however, is not a cause for much concern, say experts. This is because both states are still mainly rural. It is the burgeoning of urban populations that leads to unsustainable situations such as an insupportable demand for drinking water.