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Mumbai Demographics

The population of Mumbai is about 18 million, with a density of 4,205 persons per square kilometre. There are 811 females to every 1,000 males – which is lower than the national average, because many working males come from rural areas, where they leave behind their families. The overall literacy rate of the city is 77%, which is higher than the national average (82% of adult males and 71.6% of adult females are literate). The religions represented in Mumbai include Hindus (68% of the population), Muslims (17% of the population), and Christians and Buddhist (4% each). The remainder are Parsis, Jains, Sikhs, Jews and atheists .

For a city of its size, Mumbai has a moderate crime rate. Mumbai recorded 27,577 incidents of crime in 2004, which is down 11% from 30,991 in 2001. The city’s main jail is the Arthur Road Jail.

Mumbai has a large polyglot population, but the most common language spoken on the city streets is a colloquial form of Hindi, known as Bambaiya Hindi – a blend of Hindi, Marathi, Indian English and some invented colloquial words. Marathi is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. English is also extensively spoken, and is the principal language of the city’s white collar workforce. Most languages spoken in India have some degree of representation in the demographic fabric of Mumbai; the most widely spoken of these are Gujarati, Tamil, Malayalam, Urdu and Konkani.

Like other large cities in the world, Mumbai suffers from the same major urbanisation problems seen in many fast growing cities in developing countries – widespread poverty and poor public health, employment, civic and educational standards for a large section of the population. With available space at a premium, Mumbai residents often reside in cramped, relatively expensive housing, usually far from workplaces, and therefore requiring long commutes on crowded mass transit, or clogged roadways. According to the Business Week, around 45-48% of the population lives in shantytowns and slums.