Mapping India's Urbanisation

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Using satellite imagery and machine learning tools, we analyse the level and form that urbanisation has taken across India over the last four decades. A part of this work was featured in chapter eight of the 2nd Volume of the Economic Survey released in August 2017 by the Union Ministry of Finance (see pages 221 onward here). Also, see this Livemint piece which discusses our use of satellite data for policy. Please see this link here for a web-mapping tool to explore the data in more detail.

India is a lot more ‘urban’ than the 31% level that the 2011 Census estimates. Using publically-available satellite data, open-source tools and a globally-consistent definition that allows for comparisons across countries, we measure how urbanised India is relative to the rest of the world. We also use this data to visualise how urbanisation has been happening across India over the last four decades. With granular spatial resolution, we can see how Indian cities have been growing along infrastructure corridors and outside municipal boundaries.


Team Lead
Kshitij Batra

Junior Fellow

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