Census pegs homeless at 18 lakh, but activists dispute it

‘Rural homelessness declined by 30% to 8.3 lakh people’

December 08, 2013 01:54 am | Updated November 28, 2021 09:02 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

India’s homeless population has declined to just 17.73 lakh people, new Census data claims. The two megacities known for their large homeless populations — Mumbai and Delhi — have just 57,416 and 46,724 homeless people respectively, The Hindu ’s analysis of Census data shows.

The number includes both those permanently without a house and those temporarily homeless like truck-drivers passing through the city, Census Commissioner and Registrar General of India C. Chandramouli told The Hindu .

Rural homelessness declined by 30% to 8.3 lakh people, while urban homelessness grew by 21% to 9.4 lakh people, the data says. Uttar Pradesh has nearly one-fifth of the country’s homeless, and Maharashtra follows with 12%. Other states with significant proportions of homeless are Rajasthan (10%), Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal (8%).

The city with the largest homeless population is Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh (80,877 people), followed by Kolkata (69,798), Mumbai (57,416 ), Delhi (46,724) and Surat (36,144). The official homeless population includes 2.7 lakh children.

However, housing rights activists disputed the data. “Delhi has at least 1.5 lakh homeless people. Thousands of homeless people were not enumerated during the census,” housing rights activist Indu Prakash Singh of Shehari Adhikar Manch:Begharon Ke Saath, told The Hindu . Mr. Singh, who said he was present when enumerators conducted the survey in New Delhi, said the Census sent too few people and they spent too little time. “In our eyes, the homeless census was a fraud and a farce,” Mr. Singh said. The impact of under-counting the homeless was that too few funds were allocated for them, he said.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.