The term 'urban', as opposed to rural, is related to towns or cities. Urban settlement is a large nucleated settlement in which the majority of the employed inhabitants are engaged in non-agricultural activities. Urban areas may be defined by national governments according to different criteria; for example, size, population density, occupation of the people, and type of local government.
This division between urban and rural is arbitrary and that is why today most of scholars use the term 'rural- urban continuum' rather than dichotomy.
The Census of India until 1951 defined an urban settlement as: (i) every municipality, (ii) all civil lines not included within the municipal limits, (iii) every cantonment, and (i v) every other continuous collection of houses inhabited by not less than 5,000 persons. It was customary to treat some places with less than 5,000 inhabitants as towns in former princely states since they were of local importance. This definition was modified in 1971 Census to treat all places satisfying the following conditions as towns.
1. All municipal corporations, municipal boards, cantonments and notified areas.
2. All localities though not in themselves local bodies but forming part of a city or town agglomeration.
3. Other places satisfying all the three UN mentioned conditions:
(i) Population exceeds 5,000.
(ii) At least 75 per cent of the male word population engages in non-agricultural pursuits,
(iii) The density of population exceeds persons per square km. In 1981 Census some mi changes were incorporated whereby livestock, forestry, fishing, hunting, plantations, orchard etc. treated as agricultural activity and places having distinct urban characteristics and physical amenities like industrial area, special project area, large housing colonies, places of tourist interest, railway colonies etc. could be regarded as towns at the discretion of the Director of Census Operations in consultation with the concerned...
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