Urbanization, Demographic Transition & the Growth of Cities in India (1870-2020)

Date: 19-08-2016
Venue: Indian Institute of Human Settlements, Bangalore
Event description: Why is India urbanizing slowly? Why do some regions urbanize faster than others? Why do some cities grow faster than others?

IIHS invites you to Dr. Chinmay Tumbe’s talk which will examine these questions and the nature of urbanization and urban growth in India since the late 19th century against the backdrop of the unfolding demographic transition.

Dr. Tumbe is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A). He is an economist by training and has worked in diverse sectors globally. His research interests lie in urban economics and economic history. His latest research project is titled “The Growth of Cities in India, 1870-2020.”

Experience summary

The lecture started with few points raised by the speaker.
– There is a large rural-urban wage gap despite labor mobility.
– Slow urbanization.
– Division between northern and southern India in urban growth vis-a-vis urbanization.

Argument of the whole talk had 2 important questions at the core:
– Demographic divergence is due to different rate of fertility.
– Masculine urbanization and remittance urbanism (an individual earn int he city and send money back home)

In his talk, speaker highlighted a known fact. India is urbanizing at a rate of 3-4%, whereas China is urbanizing at a rate of 10-11%. Therefore, notion of fast urbanization of India is not completely right.

Question he wanted to address during this seminar:
– Why is India not urbanizing rapidly?
– Why are some Indian cities are growing faster than the others?

He has given answer from this research. There has been considerable regional variation which have been persisted over the time. Some states are more urban than others and this trend continued across the time line over past few years.

Migration to major Indian cities has been male dominated, thereby calling this entire phenomenon as masculine urbanization. This ration has not changed much in recent studies because of male dominated migration has persisted over the time.

Urbanization and income across Indian states. He has showcased statistics related to fertility and mortality transition across Indian states. India is actually d-urbanizing, when migration is not happening in many parts of the country. This trend is more visible in northern states of India. There is not much difference in the growth of urban and rural parts in southern states of India. D-urbanizing may also mean, growth in village cluster of a district is more than growth in urban centers.

So, why it is happening? Speaker showcased studies of demographic divergence at the district level.
According to the statistics, stagnation in agricultural yield has a negative affect in downward trend of fertility and it is reduction in fertility rates not as fast as in cities. Therefore, villages in such situation are growing faster than cities. It is especially visible in cities of northern India. So, cities are growing much slower than they were growing in the past.

Speaker has shown us a chart explaining growth of the cities. Whenever investment took place, cities grow very faster. Bengaluru can be considered as an classical example of human drawn migration population.

Fertility vs literacy across cities

IMG_8655
Cities of north are growing, because of lack of education and non-economic factors. Speaker explained us from different numbers and chart. He threw some light on regional migration vs migration. Masculine urbanization and remittance urbanism. Not all migration is permanent. Many times a person may move from village to city for earning money and after a period of time, he will return back. In certain places, trends like returning migrant have also been observed. Like younger person is coming to the city and older are going back.

The mass male migration trend has persisted over time. This has also lead for some authors to define the term ‘missing man’ phenomenon, especially when most of the male occupants have left the locality in search of better opportunities.

Speaker also highlighted source regions of migrants and those network have sustained over the time. Migration has also been caused to natural and external factors.
After the talk, participants asked question and speaker replied with pleasure to them.

(Based on personal experiences. Need not to be true to the minute details)

The event has been broadcasted live, you can also listen to entire speech in this video.

About the speaker
Dr. Tumbe is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A). He is an economist by training and has worked in diverse sectors globally. His research interests lie in urban economics and economic history. His latest research project is titled “The Growth of Cities in India, 1870-2020.” More about his works and academic publications can be read here.

More information:

Event page on Facebook.

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