6 Factors responsible for the growth of slums in India

A slum, commonly called Jhuggi-Jhopris in India, is residential area where the dwellings by reason of over-crowding, lack of ventilation, light and sanitary facilities, unhygienic conditions and other set of factors are detrimental to safety, health and morals. According to the estimates of Town and Country Planning Organization, about 21.2% of urban population lives in slums. This proportion is even higher in metropolitan cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, etc. First question which arises here is that how slums developed, what are the requirements for their development. There are varieties of factors which helps in the formation of slums.

 Growth rate of population (Urbanization)

First of all the growth rate of Indian population is very high and this growth rate is much higher in the urban areas because of the migration of large number of people from rural to urban. Due to the poverty, unemployment, lack of other amenities and more importantly to elevate their status, people migrate to urban areas, facilities in the cities are honey trap for the rural.The growth rate of civic amenities in the urban areas does not keep pace with the growing population. This difference in the growth rate provides space for the development of the slums.

Poor housing planning

Lack of affordable low cost housing and poor planning by government encourages the supply side of slums.Insufficient financial resources and lack of coordination in government bureaucracy are two main causes of poor housing planning.

Slow development of Villages

Villages in India are not Developed even on basic requirement level, and even today people face the scarcity  of water, electricity and many more basic amenities. This lack of facilities in rural areas forces people to migrate to the urban areas, which increases pressure on urban population. Though this is not much pronounced reason for genesis of slums but it still is one of them.

Vote politics

Vote politics also support the slums. Removal of slums brings conflicts of interest of politician. Slum population forms a good amount of easy vote bank and politics want them to remain as they are, because their upliftment and  education will hurt their vote bank.

 High house Rents In Cities

Poor peoples, most of which coming from rural areas, are not able to pay high rent of houses in the towns. Hence wherever they find a land, public or private, they start living there in temporary hutments, as the time progress, more and more people joins them and that area soon develops into the slum.


Some of the slum areas in India are also inhabited by the refugees. Once an area is marked as slum it started growing because of increasing population pressure in cities.

Slums might not be planned by government but its irresponsible attitude towards the village development is the root cause of slum formation. Slums are not created intentionally but grows out of chaos, and once they are full fledge politics prevent their removal. So only way to abolish slums is to prevent migration from villages to urban area. However, this only will not eradicate the problem but other steps, like employment generation in small towns and urban planning are equally important.

There are many harmful impacts of slums also. They give rises to the varieties of problems, that we will discuss in next post.


  1. Can you please post the role of slum dwellers in India during 18th and 19th century

  2. Thanks for your detailed explaning :D
    It helps me a lot!

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