Changing Pattern of Urbanization in West Bengal: An Analysis of 2011 Census of India Data

Author : Saurav Chakraborty, Soumendu Chatterjee, Kakoli Das, Utpal Roy | 2015
Published By: Asian Research Consortium

Since 1901, Urban Primacy has been a feature of urbanization of West Bengal and continuous increase of population in highly urbanized districts around Kolkata. This subsequently led to slowing down the process of urbanization from 1951 onwards and quite a different trend has been noticed during 2001-2011. The Census data of 2011 reveals that urbanization process of the state exhibits a growing trend and begins to spread into the interior districts (Maldah, Murshidabad, Nadia, Birbhum and Jalpaiguri) of West Bengal. These have been accompanied by a noticeable decline in the percentage share population share in Class I towns and substantial population growth in small towns. This study makes an attempt to explore this changing pattern of urbanization in West Bengal over the last decade and find out the significance and future of newly developed small towns over the urban landscape. For each of the districts, annual growth rate of urban population (All Towns) during 2001 – 2011 is calculated. Such rate has also been calculated separately considering only those towns which received urban status in 2001 or before i.e. Old Towns. Now the difference between these two rates represents the contribution of towns which emerged in between 2001 - 2011 to the growth of urban population in the districts. To make our understanding more trustworthy, all towns of each district have been classified into three broad groups. Population belonging to each town group has been converted into percentage share to the total urban population. To visualize the spatial spread of urbanization we used 'kriging' to interpolate a continuous surface from point samples of district headquarters. Results show for the first time in 2011, a proper decentralization of urbanization could be seen both in terms of spatial context and size class distribution. This may be attributed to the speeding up process of urbanization into the interior districts placed distant from Kolkata featuring with small towns, proclaiming their state of existence by holding significant population share. It could explain the increasing trend of urbanization in the state as a whole in 2011 characterized by the dispersion of dispersed urbanization.

URL : 20170802030955.pdf

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