Growth in India’s slum population…or census accuracy
“Even though India is putting up impressive growth numbers, an expert committee formed to estimate a slum population figure said that the slum population will stand at 93.06 million by next year. This is an increase of 23% since 2001. The estimate in 2001 for the year 2010 was 75.26 million. The minister for housing and urban poverty alleviation said this figure wasn’t surprising due to the increase in urbanization.”
Officials attribute much of this increase to urbanization. In addition, the definition of ‘slum’ was changed since the 2001 census, and the committee used counting techniques that were more effective at reaching rural areas. The 2010 census data has not yet been released.
Globally, slums are a mounting challenge for a large number of publicly acknowledged reasons, but issues of accurate data is often overlooked, as is the political dimension of what constitutes a slum. These two factors make the real magnitude of the slum challenge a moving target, and as many countries with major slum populations develop better census tools, a more accurate picture of global urban poverty will emerge. In a similar vein, population estimates from the government are also thought to be underestimated by as many as 18.4 million, and the 2010 census will reveal who is right. This change in data could force the government to rethink population control measures.