Analyzing Bangalore’s Growth

Banglore’s population has grown 20-fold and area 10-fold since 1941, going by this chart (via Gautam John on Facebook, photo taken at MG Road Metro station).

Bangalore Population and Area
Bangalore Population and Area

What would be interesting to see is when the spurt in Bangalore population actually happened. Checking that is quite simple. Using the population figures from the census, we can derive the CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of the population in each decade. This is presented in the chart below:


Conventional wisdom is that Bangalore was a sleepy little city until the “IT revolution” happened around the turn of the millennium after which the city exploded. The chart above calls that wisdom into question. While the annual growth rate of Bangalore’s population has been higher in the noughties compared to the earlier two decades, this is by no means the period of Bangalore’s fastest growth.

Bangalore grew fastest in the 1940s, perhaps because it was made capital of Mysore State after independence, thus leading to the arrival of a large number of government servants in the city. Interestingly, the next period of high growth in the city was in the 1970s, which was even before the seeds of the IT revolution had been sold (the setting up of the Texas Instruments office in Bangalore in the early 80s is regarded as the beginning of Bangalore as an IT hub).

What might have led to the perception of Bangalore’s growth being fastest in the noughties is that the strain on a city’s infrastructure is a superlinear function of the city’s population. And with a lot of the city’s infrastructure having been stagnant over the years, the strain started getting really noticed in this decade.

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