Census India 1931: The Population Problem in Delhi

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This article is an extract from


Report by

J. H. HUTTON, C.I.E., D.Sc., F.A.S.B.,

Corresponding Member of the Anthropologische Gesselschaft of Vienna.

Delhi: Manager of Publications


(Hutton was the Census Commissioner for India)

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Delhi is the smallest and most recently constituted of the provinces of India. It came into being as a province on the laying of the foundation stone of New Delhi by His Majesty the King Emperor in December 1911, and as a result of the establishment there of the imperial capital its growth has been phenomenal is of course primarily an urban unit and the total area of the province is only 573sq. miles, but the population is 636,246 persons (722 females per 1,000 males) with a mean density of 1,110 persons per sq. mile.


This density varies from 58,273 persons per sq. mile in Old Delhi municipality to 372 in the rural area, where the increase during the decade has been only 3 per cent. as compared with 30 . 3 per cent. for the province as a whole. This rapid increase is due to the abnormal growth of a newly established capital, and is very largely due to immigration, since the gross balance of migration in Delhi's favour is 189,594 persons, of which the Census Superintendent regards 111,775 as the actual net increase by migration during the decade since 1921. This growth in population has outstripped the rapid building of houses and in the urban area the density per 100 houses has increased from 410 in 1921 to 454 in 1931.

The censused population of the urban areas however (447,442) probably falls to about 330,000 in the hot weather, which is likely to be no more and possibly even less than its permanent population at the height of its importance in the reign of Shahjahan.

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