Chennai is the most densely populated city in Tamil Nadu, and by a very long haul at that, according to the census 2011 abstract released here on Friday.

The city has a population density of 26,553 persons per square kilometres, ahead substantially from next in the list – Kanyakumari with 1,111 persons per square kilometre and Thiruvallur with 1,098 persons per square kilometre.

Interestingly, Chennai seems to be the epicentre of the urban growth in the State – with spillovers most visible in the neighbouring districts of Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram that have become feeder cities through the suburban areas. While Tiruvallur has a decadal population growth of 34.3 per cent, Kancheepuram has a decadal growth of 38.1 per cent.

No other district in the state has a population growth north of 30 per cent. Coimbatore, which has in the past decade become a tier-II IT city and has seen some boom in residential properties, has grown relatively slowly at just 16.7 per cent compared to the numbers of 2001.

Its adjoining district Tirupur has fared better with a decadal population growth of 27.4 per cent.

The capital city has also substantially improved its literacy record, going up from 85.3 per cent in 2001 to 90.2 per cent now. But not all indicators have been overwhelmingly positive for Chennai.

In an interesting statistic, the number of female workers (in category “main workers”) in the city has fallen from 88.6 per cent in 2001 to 81 per cent in 2011. The number has fallen for male workers too has fallen but from 93.8 per cent in 2001 to 91.8 per cent in 2011.

The total population of the city according to the census was 46 million, a seven per centage point increase since the year 2001. The city is the only district in the state to be declared as completely urban.

It has a population density of 26,553 persons per square kilometres