India’s most populous city has been witnessing a declining growth trend, with the island city recording a negative population growth rate of 5.75 per cent and Mumbai’s suburbs posting a growth rate of just 8 per cent over the last decade.
Provisional figures for census 2011 show Mumbai’s population as being 1.24 crore, up by just five lakh from 1.19 crore in 2001.
City planners and demographers over the past few years had predicted a conservative estimate of 1.4 crore for the population in the city and suburbs.
Today, the population for the island city stands at 31.45 lakh, down from 33.26 lakh in 2001. It had last posted a negative growth trend in 1991. The growth rate in the suburbs is down from 27.99 per cent in 2001 to 8.01 per cent in 2011. In absolute figures, the suburban population stands at 93.32 lakh, up from 85.87 lakh in 2001.
Experts say the declining population growth rate in the city points to a lopsided urban renewal, housing options available in areas surrounding Mumbai and the availability of competitive economic opportunities in states like Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.
“A lot of urban renewal currently going on in the island city has pushed out lower middle classes because of unaffordable realty. Housing structures are also increasingly being transformed into commercial complexes in the island city leaving less scope for the poor to survive here,’’ said Dr RN Sharma, professor, Centre for Development Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
‘Declining growth rate is good news’
Among the many reasons for the declining population growth rate in Mumbai is that agglomeration economies like in Surat, Ahmedabad, Pimpri-Chinchwad have been successful in creating job opportunities, reducing migration to Mumbai, said Dr RN Sharma, professor, Centre for Development Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
Experts say that the declining growth rate is good news because it means regional disparities have reduced, but the city may need to reinvent itself in the long run to avoid stagnation.
Meanwhile, the sex ratio in the country’s financial capital continues to be the lowest in the state, though it is marginally better than the 2001 census. The sex ratio in the island city is 838 females for every 1,000 males and 857 females for every 1,000 males in the suburbs.