Key statistics on Delhi from Urban Age research

20 November 2014

There are 67 cities with over 500,000 people in India; 32% of the population today live in towns and cities but only occupy 1% of the nation’s geographical surface. By contrast in Europe there are 128 cities over 500,000, where 73% or the population are urbanised occupying 3% of the continent’s surface. Sub-Saharan Africa and China have 55 and 117 cities above 500,000 and the urban populations add up to 37% and 54% respectively.

[All this data and more in our conference newspaper:]

In 2012, 700 of the world’s largest cities made up 33% of the world’s global population, but they produced more than 55% of all global economic output, according to UN projections.

Population growth rate of larger cities over the next 15 years will be disproportionately distributed across the world, with faster growing areas in parts of Africa and Asia, more modest or low growth in Latin America and parts of North America, slow or zero growth in Europe, and negative growth in parts of Japan, Eastern Europe, Russia and the Caribbean.

China and India lead will have the largest the number of megacities over 10 million people by 2030. While today Tokyo is the world’s largest city, with an agglomeration of 38 million – followed by Delhi, Shanghai and Mumbai – its population is set to shrink by about 400,000 people by 2030, while all the runners-up are set to continue growing. But amongst the larger cities, it is Dhaka, Lagos, Kinshasa and Dar es Salaam that will transform most rapidly due to extreme growth rates, many with high percentages of informal development.

By 2030 dramatic regional differences in economic output will still persist in GDP/per capita between the Global North and Global South –with the most intense growth in average GDP concentrated in China and East Asia.

Comparing Nine Global Cities (Delhi, London, Bogotá, Tokyo, Lagos, New York, Istanbul, New York and Berlin)

Of these nine cities, Lagos will be growing the most rapidly over the coming years, with an average annual population growth rate of 6.4% per year – more than three times faster than Delhi (2%) and nearly six times faster than Bogotá (1.2%). In terms of economic output, the residents of New York (US$69,556) and Tokyo (US$53,344) top the list, followed by London (US$48,077) and Berlin (US$33,253). People living in these four cities are many times wealthier, on average, than those in Bogotá or Istanbul, which in turn are significantly wealthier than the average resident of Delhi (US$3,983) or Lagos (US$1,988). At 12.3%, Berlin has the highest rate of unemployment of all nine cities (with Istanbul a close second at 11.8%), at a time where overall German unemployment has fallen to below 5% for the first time since the beginning of the last recession. Tokyo has the lowest unemployment rate at just 4.7%, twice as low as Delhi or London. However, only 15% of the residents of Tokyo are under the age of 20 (compared to 40% in Delhi and Lagos).

Voter turnout in local elections suggests stark differences in political participation. New York experienced a historically low turnout during the last elections, with only 24% of eligible voters casting their ballot. By comparison, nearly 90% of Istanbul voters turned out to vote.

Despite significant variation in the administrative structures and associated political powers of these cities, each has a democratically-elected body that acts as the legislative arm of the government. The London Assembly has the lowest number of representatives (25) while Istanbul’s Municipal Council has the highest (207). Arrangements relating to the city leadership are similarly divergent. Concerns about corruption and the concentration of political power mean that in Bogotá the mayor can only be elected for one four year term. By contrast in Delhi, London, Tokyo and Berlin, the mayor (or equivalent city leader) can in theory be re-elected an unlimited number of times.

Delhi and Bogotá face very similar densities within their built-up area (around 20,000 people/km2) and both have a similarly low amount of green space per person, yet in the case of Delhi more than half of the total land area of the city is already built-up, while for Bogotá it is less than a fifth. New York has the highest percentage of built-up land (74%), followed closely by London (71%) and Berlin (69%). Berlin and London also have the lowest average density, with Berlin being five times less dense than Delhi. London and Berlin have by far the highest amount of green space per person, with 36m2 and 39m2 respectively, with the residents of Lagos only benefitting from 0.002m2 of green space per person.

Car ownership and public transport use also vary widely. Berlin has both the lowest public transport use (26% of all trips) and highest car ownership rate (334 cars per 1,000 inhabitants). By contrast, 70% of trips in Lagos are made by bus, and it has the lowest car ownership rate of all nine cities. However, its air pollution levels are high with PM10 levels of 122μg/m3, although not as severe as Delhi’s (286μg/m3 of PM10).

Comparing Delhi’s performance across a number of indicators was compared to other global cities

Economy and population
Delhi’s projected increase in income per capita is one the largest amongst selected global cities. It’s average annual GVA growth in the metro area from 2012 to 2030 will be 7% (in London it will be 2.8%, in Lagos 6.6%, in Tokyo only 1.1%). Nonetheless, the population of the Delhi metro area over the same period will only grow by 2% a year compared to Lagos at 6.4% per year. Tokyo will actually shrink by 0.1% between 2012 and 2030.

Delhi still has a high level of inequality (measured by the GINI Index – the lower the value the greater the level of social equality; the higher the value the greater the inequality). While London has an index of 0.36 and Berlin 0.29, Delhi has a relatively high figure of 0.6, yet lower than Lagos at 0.64 and many other African and Latin American cities.
Yet, Delhi has a very low level of violent crime measured by the murder rate (homicides per 100,000 people). While Bogota, like other Latin American cities, still suffers from 16.1 homicides per 100,000 people, at 5.6 New York has over double the murder rate than Delhi which stands at 2.7 homicides per 100,000 people.

While Delhi is still trying to resolve its governance arrangements, voter turnout at the last election was high at 66% of the electorate, much higher than cities like London (39%), Lagos (32%) and New York (24%), while Istanbul leads the field at 89%. Unlike London or New York, Delhi does not have a directly elected Mayor but its Legislative Assembly has 70 representatives (with a city population of 16.6 million and a metro area population of 23.3 million), while the London Assembly has 25 members representing a population of 8.1 million people and Istanbul Municipal Council has 207 representatives for a population of 14.2 million people.

Density and green space
Despite its relatively low-rise urban landscape, Delhi has an extremely high average density of built up area of 19,698 people/sq km, nearly twice the levels for wider New York metro area (which at 11,531 people/sq km includes high-rise Manhattan) and Tokyo with 11,025 people/sq km. The result of this high density is that Delhi has only 2 sq metres of green space per person. Istanbul fares even worse with 1 sq metre person while lower density London and Berlin, with front and back gardens and extensive parks, have a generous 36 sq metres and Berlin 39 sq metres respectively.

Environment and transport
Just under half of daily trips, 42%, in Delhi are made by public transport, lower than Lagos which stands at 70% and Tokyo at 67%. The cost of a bus ticket is about ten times cheaper in Delhi than it is in London, Tokyo and New York; three times cheaper than in Lagos and four times cheaper than Istanbul. Car ownership in Delhi at 131 cars per 1,000 people is less than London’s 307 and Berlin’s 334 cars per 1,000 people.

High levels of traffic congestion contribute to Delhi’s extreme pollution levels with annual mean PM10 Levels (μg/m3) of 286, which is twice the level of Lagos at 122 annual mean PM10, but over ten times Berlin, New York, London and Tokyo.

Governance compared (Delhi, London, Bogota and Tokyo)

The National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi is one of India’s 29 states, with a population of 16.6 million. Its powers are closely dependent on the Indian national government. At the state level, powerful bodies like the Delhi Development Authority and the Delhi Police are centrally supervised. Executive power is exerted through the Chief Minister of Delhi, who is elected by 70 members of the Delhi Legislative Assembly. The central government appoints the Lieutenant Governor. At the local level, there are 11 districts administered through four Municipal Corporations and, partly, by the Delhi Cantonment Board. The executives within these institutions are appointed by national ministries. In 2012, a change in legislation saw the Delhi Municipal Corporation split into three separate corporations: the East, South and North Delhi Corporations, each with their own commissioner and mayor. 22% of the NCT’s budget is allocated to public transport and 13% to urban development and housing.

Since 2000, the eight million residents of London have been governed by a directly elected mayor and the Greater London Authority. The mayor sets the strategic framework for all of London’s 33 boroughs (including the Corporation of London) and has executive powers over a number of city-wide areas including transport (the mayor chairs Transport for London), policing, fire and emergency services, inward investment and, to a degree, regeneration and housing. Other areas like education and health are controlled by central or local government. Unlike other nations, there is no state or regional level of governance in the UK. The mayor has the largest electorate in the UK, and one of the largest in Europe, with 5.8 million voters entitled to take part in elections every four years. The 25 directly elected members of the London Assembly have the responsibility of scrutinising the Mayor’s Office. Local boroughs, made up roughly 200,000-300,000 residents, are responsible for most other services including schools, social services planning, environment and waste collection. 28 of the 33 borough leaders are indirectly elected through the borough councils, with four borough-level mayors directly elected. The lion’s share of the GLA budget is spent on transport (60%), with nearly one-third on police and security.

The City of Bogotá is the capital of Colombia with a population of over seven million people. It is governed by a directly elected mayor, who cannot hold office for more than one four-year term consecutively. While the city formally lies within the Department of Cundinamarca, it is administered independently from the rest of the state and has a degree of autonomy, with 45 directly elected councillors on the Bogotá City Council. Like the UK and unlike India, the power of the regional state is not dominant in city governance structures. The mayor of Bogotá has relatively strong powers across many different sectors including education, health and transport, while the 20 local administrative boards, each made up of 7-11 members, have relatively few responsibilities compared to local boroughs in other cities. The mayor’s and City Council’s direct influence over transport, health, environmental and educational policies account for the city’s ability to implement a series of successful innovations, including the Transmilenio Bus Rapid Transit system, the ciclovía network of cycle ways, and the provision of high-quality schools and libraries near the city’s most deprived communities. 26% of the city budget is allocated to education, with 17% on health and 13% on transport.

Tokyo is largest urban agglomeration in the world with a population of 38 million people. It is the capital of Japan (and one of its 47 prefectures) and has 13.2 million residents. Despite its size, it has developed an articulated metropolitan governance system that responds to its specific economic, environmental and social challenges, with one of the most sophisticated and efficient integrated public transport systems in the world. Given the size and economic weight of the greater Tokyo area, the directly elected Governor of Tokyo is the second most powerful figure in Japan after the Prime Minister, with an electorate of 9.6 million residents. 127 members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly are directly elected. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) administers a total of 62 municipalities which include 23 special wards, 26 cities, five towns and eight villages. Each of these 62 units has a directly elected mayor and assembly who serve office for four years. While the TMG handles broader administrative works, local municipalities are responsible for local services such as education, health and welfare. The 23 special high-density wards are home to major business activities, with different needs from the other municipalities in the prefecture. While 16% of the TMG budget goes to education, 14% to civil engineering and 14% to social welfare, it is interesting to note that 15% is allocated to special ward initiatives.

Please use this reference when quoting this data: Key statistics on Delhi from Urban Age research, developed by LSE Cities, a research centre at the London School of Economics supported by Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society.