Kolkata -- or Calcutta in English -- is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal and located on the Hooghly river. Kolkata is the commercial and educational center of East India and one of the oldest operating ports in the country. In 2014, it had an estimated population of 4.6 million, which made it the 7th most populous city in India.
Kolkata has an estimated population of 4.6 million. The largest urban area that includes the suburbs has a population of more than 14.3 million, which makes it India's 3rd most populous metropolitan area.
City Size and Population Density
The city has a very high population density of 24,000 people per square kilometer or 63,000 per square mile. This is one of the world's highest densities. The city itself qualifies as a megacity and covers an incredible amount of surface area that comes to a total of 205.00 square kilometers (79.150 square miles).
Kolkata's population demographics has a lower sex ratio than India as a whole at 899 females for every 1,000 males. This is due in part to the high number of workers from the rural areas, West Bengal and neighboring states, as men often leave families behind to work in the city. Kolkata has a literacy rate of 87%, which is higher than the Indian average of 74%.
Bengali people represent the majority of Kolkatans, while Biharis and Marwaris represent large minorities. The foreign-born population of Kolkata has dropped through the 20th century, but there are still many small communities of the following groups: Chinese, Tamils, Nepalis, Telugus, Oriyas, Gujaratis, Anglo-Indians, Greeks, Armenians, Tibetans, Konkanis, Maharashtrians, Punjabis, and Parsis.
During World War II, Kolkata had a Jewish population of 5,000, which fell after India gained independence and Isreal was established. Today, there are just about 25 Jews left in the city. Kolkata has a single Chinatown with a population of 2,000 ethnic Chinese people, down from 20,000.
Hinduism represents the largest religion at 78%, followed by Islam (20%), Christianity (0.9%) and Jain (0.5%).
At least one-third of the population lives in 5,500 unregistered and registered slums. Authorized slums have access to essential services like water, but the majority of slums do not. There are two types of slums in the city: bustees, in which dwellers have a long-term tenancy agreement with landowners and udbastu colonies, which are leased to refugees from Bangladesh by the government.
Kolkata Population Growth
Kolkata is no longer the fastest-growing urban area in Bengal, as Asansol has now taken this title. Kolkata recently saw a dip in its population as the surrounding suburbs continue growing. People have stopped migrating to the city in part because of reduced opportunities. By 2025, the Kolkata urban area will have an estimated population of 20.1 million.