December 15, 2006

Pick a number, that's all

Every now and then, somebody comes up with a new figure for the number of people coming into Bombay every day. The figure of 300 families -- about 1500 people -- has been bandied about for years. Last year, Newsweek called it 400 families -- about 2000 people.

Last month, I sat in a dark Delhi auditorium and listened to Vijaypat Singhania, the industrialist and celebrated hot-air ballooner, raise the stakes. Bombay must cope, he said up there on the stage, with a "net migration" of 8000 -- eight thousand -- people a day. Later in his presentation, he repeated this.

Where did Mr Singhania come up with that number from?

More important, why didn't he do some simple arithmetic? 8000 people a day multiplied by 365 days in a year: that's about 3 million people a year coming into Bombay. Is it even conceivable that a city of something like 15 million is increasing its numbers by 20 per cent a year, and that without accounting for "natural" growth, meaning babies?

So what's the truth? As I wrote here, migration into Bombay has been falling -- both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the city's growth -- for years. It is now likely less than -- ready? -- 200 people a day. Natural growth, meaning babies, is three times heavier a contributor to Bombay's growth than inward migration.

Yet migration and births together add up to a tenth of Mr Singhania's 8000. So I still wonder where that figure came from. Ideas?


Anonymous said...

it might not be hot air or mere baloonry as you suggest. maybe he wanted to type 2000 using the numpad on the computer keyboard but mistook it to be the phone dialpad?

Dilip D'Souza said...

The number is 200, B. Two hundred. Not two thousand, not eight thousand.

Still, your guess is a possibility. Maybe that's how he got the number.

Anonymous said...

( slightly tangential )

Its interesting to see how migrants go thru an assimilation (insider-ization?) process by which after a period of time they start resisting other, new migrants. They acquire the native bias.


Anonymous said...

u son of no thing buy a new kwbord at lesset so that ucan type the corect things
at lesset if u want i will fiannce u

Anonymous said...

bourgeois bashing, i lament. bourgeois bashing. comrade, whom do we believe. whom do we believe i ask. Left has its own antagonistic research. Right has its own cruel research lie. I am in the middle, as always the member in the middle. might as well reproduce....

reproducing middleclass

In The Shadows said...

Well, use your head.

Many people die natural deaths. Many die in Islamic terror attacks. And many people like me enter the city, stay for a year, and get out of the mess that is Mumbai.

800 people come in, 600 go out. And there comes your number, 200 a day.

Anonymous said...

reminds me of a dilbert cartoon strip:

dogbert: "90% of the statistics are made up on the spot"
dilbert: (raises eyebrow)
dogbert: "are you doubting my statistics?"


Anonymous said...

It's really simple. The key word is "net". Net over what time? 8000 people a day come into Mumbai to work, living in outlying areas, every day. So the situation is worse. Not only there is a net migration into Mumbai, there is a net migration into the neigboring areas!!! That's 16,000 people a day entering Mumbai and surroundings. Or something like that. You net it out.