Residents of Mumbai city have been diminishing steadily for some years now. Dreamy-eyed migrants, who once flocked the rusty walls of dilapidated buildings that told tales of a glorious past, now seem to be moving out for greener pastures.
A study conducted on the census report of the migration pattern in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) has revealed that there are 9 lakh fewer people residing in the city as compared to 10 years ago.
However, Thane's population has risen by a staggering 29.3 lakh between 2001-11, with more than 8 lakh people migrating from South Mumbai alone, an area that is known for steep real estate prices.
According to the Times of India, the census report confirmed that Thane was the main zone where people from MMR moved to. For instance, 3.9 lakh people migrated from Mumbai's suburbs to Thane between 2001-11, as compared to around 30,000 migrations reported in the previous decade.
According to DP Singh, professor at the Centre for Research Methodology, who collated the data, most of the people who migrated were looking at "better places to stay" and "easier availability of homes" as compared to the overcrowded reaches of the main city. For most of these households, buying a house in Mumbai city was out of the question, due to problems of affordability.
Backing Singh, economist Abhay Pethe said that even for people who owned homes in Mumbai, it made more sense to sell the property and move to a more spacious home in Thane. Moreover, unlike before, Mumbai is not the sole central business district in the region. There are multiple CBDs now, all of which are well-connected. Therefore, moving out now meant "less inconvenience and more money".
The trend to move out gathered momentum in 2001, with people migrating to Vashi, Sanpada, and Mira-Bhayandar as well. In fact, urban planners now consider areas like Panvel and Raigad as promising, especially with the new airport coming up.