Unacknowledged Urbanisation: The New Census Towns in India

  • Kanhu Charan Pradhan
Part of the Exploring Urban Change in South Asia book series (EUCS)


The unexpected increase in the number of census towns (CTs) in the last census has thrust them into the spotlight. Using a hitherto unexploited dataset, we found that many of the new CTs had already satisfied the requisite criteria in 2001, mitigating concerns of inflated urbanisation. The new CTs account for one third of the urban growth in last decade, with large inter-state variations. They are responsible for almost the entire growth in urbanisation in Kerala and almost none in Chhattisgarh. Consequently, the estimated contribution of migration is similar to that of previous inter-censal periods. Further, while some new CTs are concentrated around million-plus cities, more than four-fifths are situated outside the proximity of such cities, with a large majority nowhere near Class I towns, though they form part of local agglomerations. This indicates a dispersed pattern of in-situ urbanisation. Indeed, the empirical analysis seems to indicate that reluctance of state policy to recognise new statutory towns is partly responsible for the growth of new CTs. In addition, this chapter finds that the large increase in CTs is not limited to the last decade and it could be a part of India’s future urbanisation. The rural administrative framework governs a growing share of the urban population belonging to these CTs, despite their very different demographic and economic characteristics. This condition may affect their future growth.


Urban Growth Rural Settlement Urbanisation Rate Large Town Census Period 
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Copyright information

© Springer India 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Policy ResearchNew DelhiIndia

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