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Decoding Urban Agglomeration in India: Insights & Trends



  Mar 06, 2024

Understanding Urban Agglomeration in India



Urban Agglomeration (UA) is a term used in the Census of India to describe a continuous urban spread. It encompasses a statutory town (with a municipality, corporation, cantonment board, or notified town area committee) and its adjoining outgrowths (OGs), or two or more contiguous towns with or without their outgrowths.

The primary criteria for an area to be classified as an Urban Agglomeration are:

1. The presence of at least one statutory town,
2. A total population of not less than 20,000 as per the last Census.

Examples of Urban Agglomerations in India include Greater Mumbai UA and Delhi UA. The concept accounts for various urban configurations that share continuous urban characteristics, despite each individual area not necessarily meeting the minimum population requirement to be considered an independent urban entity.

An Out Growth (OG) is defined as a viable unit such as a village, hamlet, or enumeration block near a statutory town, within the revenue limits of contiguous village(s) but outside the statutory town’s limits. OGs typically exhibit urban features like pucca roads, electricity, taps, drainage systems, educational institutions, medical facilities, and banks. They are physically contiguous with the core town of the UA and share integrated urban characteristics, warranting their inclusion in the urban agglomeration.

The concept of Urban Agglomeration has evolved over time, replacing earlier terms like “standard urban area” introduced in the 1971 Census, which aimed at providing a meaningful picture of urbanization through comparable data over decades. This new approach countered the limitations of the previous “Town Group” concept, which suffered from incomparability issues due to changing town boundaries and overlooked intermediate areas.

In the 2011 Census, India identified 475 places with 981 OGs as Urban Agglomerations, reflecting a significant increase from the 384 UAs with 962 OGs recorded in the 2001 Census. This shift underscores the dynamic nature of urban expansion and the importance of accurately capturing the evolving urban landscapes for planning and development purposes
 


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