Mumbai is a city with a massive population but, like most of India, it struggles with poverty. Poverty has long been a major concern for the Indian government, but with a consistently growing population, it is becoming increasingly harder to create effective change. Regardless, having all the facts about the city is a good first step to understanding what can be done to improve living standards. The following are 10 important facts about poverty in Mumbai.
10 Facts About Poverty in Mumbai
- According to the 2011 census, the population of Mumbai was 12,478,447. Estimates for 2018 put the population around 22 million; however, the next official census is not scheduled until 2021.
- In 2016, an estimated 55 percent of Mumbai’s population lived in slums. A slum is an area of dense population typically characterized by poverty, deteriorated housing and buildings and poor living conditions.
- Not all slums are recognized, or “notified,” by the Indian government, meaning residents of “non-notified” slums are not entitled to piped water, toilets, electricity or public transportation. This also allows the government to de-prioritize them in slum improvement schemes.
- Almost half of Mumbai’s slums are non-notified, and Mumbai is estimated to have the largest slum population of any city in the world.
- Lack of access to clean water causes various bacterial infections. These can cause mild to severe diarrheal illnesses and, in some cases, mortality through the ingestion of harmful chemicals, toxins and bacteria. These illnesses are particularly prevalent in non-notified slums.
- The Indian government created the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) in 1971. Since then, the SRA has been implementing projects and policies to try and improve the lives of people living in poverty. The SRA website has a record of 1,513 total projects that have been run in cities and villages across India, including many in Mumbai.
- Mumbai also has a large homeless population that is unable to access any housing or places to settle in. According to the 2011 census, over 54,500 people are homeless in Mumbai.
- Mumbai had a 33.4 percent secondary education drop out rate in early 2017. However, there has also been a 20 percent increase in enrollment since 2010.
- The income gap in Mumbai and other parts of India is widening. According to a Maharashtra survey, people in the poorest districts earn only 25 percent of what people in the wealthiest districts do.
- The largest slum in Mumbai is called Dharavi. It is home to about one million people, however many of them are not below the poverty line. While still densely packed, Dharavi is home to middle-class, well-educated residents, and many of them have satisfactory living conditions.
These are the top 10 facts about poverty in Mumbai. While many of them depict poverty and issues that need to be addressed, others point out positive aspects of the city that may not always receive as much visibility. It is important to look at the city’s strengths in addition to its weaknesses in order to gain a fuller understanding of the issue at hand.
– Liyanga de Silva