Saturday, December 7, 2013

Bihar’s Urbanization Trends

The level of urbanization in Bihar has moved from 10.5% in 2001 to 11.3% in 2011, indicating that the level has increased, but marginally.
In every census in India, the same definition/ criteria has been used in order to classify an area as urban and the rest is rural.  The areas having municipal corporation(s), nagar parishad(s), nagar panchayat(s), cantonment board(s) are by default taken as urban.  Other some areas classified by none of the above categories are taken as census towns if the area satisfies all the following criteria:
1.    It has at least one (single) village of more than 5000 population and the density of the area is at least 400 persons per sq. km.
2.    A minimum of 75% of male working population is in the non-agriculture sector.
In 2001, there were 125 statutory towns and 5 were census towns.  Latter the same were configured as 122 statutory towns by de-notification of two towns and one such town was merged into one of the existing statutory towns by the State government (s).  Also one of the census town was merged in one of the statutory town and four census towns were retained for the conduct of 2011 census.  Now after 2011 census, we have 139 statutory towns and 60 are census towns.  On this basis, the population of various districts is being classified as urban or rural. 
The fastest rate of urbanization in Bihar has been observed for the urban agglomerations of Patna, Gaya, Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur.  Patna UA accommodates over 2 million people, and is the largest metropolis by population in Bihar, followed by Gaya with less than half a million inhabitants. Bhagalpur has 0.4 million inhabitants and the next one is of Muzaffarpur with less than 0.4 million followed by Purnia (0.31 million).  Top 12 urban agglomerations in Bihar have their urban population as more than 2 lakh only.  There are only 26 class-I cites in Bihar and there is only one million plus city in Bihar and i.e.  is 1.7 million.

Patna is the most urbanized district in Bihar, with the urban-total district population ratio is 43.5%.  This district has 21.4 percent share in the State’s urban population.  Bhagalpur is the next in line, but its share in state’s urban population is only 5 percent.  Gaya has less than 5% share.  Thus almost all the districts have less than 5% share in state’s urban population.  The bottom most district in this respect is Sheohar with 0.24 percent share.   Although there are about 200 towns in Bihar, but most of them are small.  The moment towards urbanization in the state had been very slow.  As the area in the state is small as compared to its population, Bihar is the state with highest rural density.  

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