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Differential urbanisation model: the case of a developing country, India 1961–91

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The differential urbanisation model postulates that the urbanisation process occurs over a series of stages of concentration and deconcentration of population over space and time. For the first cycle of urban development, the model postulates six stages of population change within the broad spectrum of urbanisation, polarisation reversal, and counter–urbanisation. This paper, utilising population census data in urban size categories for the period of 1961–91, tests the differential urbanisation model in the context of a developing country, India. The analysis reveals that at the national level, India has moved from the large city stage of the concentration phase of urbanisation as observed during the earlier decades (1961–81) to the Early Intermediate stage of the deconcentration phase during the 1981–91 period. The analyses at the subnational levels show mixed patterns that include a gradual emergence of the smaller urban centres in relative importance. The paper notes that some growth patterns observed in India vary from the postulated phases in the model and suggests that intra–stage and inter–stage transitional phases should be examined in future cross–cultural studies for possible theoretical implications.
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Keywords: Differential urbanisation; India; counter–urbanisation; polarisation reversal

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, USA

Publication date: 2003-02-01

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