Urban India 2015: Evidence (Demographic Dynamics)
The standard narrative of India’s demographic dynamics has been based on a historical assumption that India lives in its villages. The urbanisation discourse is characterised by three main assertions: first, India is in a state of rapid urbanisation—a third of the country lived in urban settlements in 2011. Second, a vast majority of the population—close to 65 per cent—is below the age of 40, indicating that demographic dividends to economic growth might be reaped over the next half-century or more. Third, rapid urbanisation is causing reductions in inequalities and increases in wealth. In this chapter, we take a closer look at how the demographic characteristics of the country have changed primarily over the last decade, and assess the robustness of the standard narrative. The chapter is divided into two main sections. The first showcases India’s settlement and population distributions over time, and, the second focuses on the spatial distribution of key demographic variables.
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