The State of West Bengal witnessed significantly a high level of urbanization during the decades: 70’s to 80’s. The urban population in West Bengal was estimated as 27.30% of the total population in the 2001 census report as against 28.03% in the entire country. The over all density of urban population in the west Bengal in 2000-01 was estimated as 6,798 per Sq.Km against the national average of 4,098/sq.km.
Slum areas are nothing new to the urban towns of West Bengal. It has been very much in existence from long time back for providing accommodation to the Economically Weaker Section as well as the backward section of the community. Rapid increase in the growth of slums in and around the town takes place due to increasing industrialization. The slum area proliferation took place in massive and speedy manner after partition of Bengal in the urban areas of the State where the uprooted refugees from the other side of the border took their shelter and colonies came up by and large all over the State, mostly in the urban areas where the displaced persons looked for their earnings and carrying out livelihood. Exodus of refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan occurred again during the liberation war of Bangladesh. Again with the rapid increase of activities in the urban towns in West Bengal further slum areas proliferation took place simultaneously with their growth. Urban slum vis-à-vis the decline in the rural population living below the poverty line indicates continuous migration of respective group of people to the urban areas in search of employment, economic and livelihood needs.
As the density of urban population of West Bengal was 50% more that the national average, the slum population in the State is also much more than the average nation slum population, which accounts for 35% to 40% of the urban population.