The People of Dhaka City: Demographic Dynamics and Socio-Economic Consequences

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Around one-third of the country’s population comprising 50 million people live in urban areas, and urban population is also growing at an increasing rate (at an annual rate of between five to six percent).There are uneven distribution of urban population among the towns and the cities, and Dhaka city alone accounts for more than 36% of total urban population in the country. Despite the fact that Dhaka city is already having a huge population, it is still growing rapidly and in-migration (migration from other parts of the country) is an important component of its growth. The influx of migrants, as experienced by Dhaka, is creating diverse demographic, economic and social problems. An effective solution of the problems of Dhaka city, therefore, requires knowledge of the demographic, economic and social characteristics of the population at both aggregate as well as disaggregate levels (i.e., for different segments/sections).


The overall purpose of the study is to see how is Dhaka coping with the massive influx of people, i.e., to analyze what has happened, and on this basis to foretell what is likely to happen, in Dhaka. In particular, the main objectives of the study include:

  • To explore the demographic conditions presently existing in Dhaka, in particular the demographic dynamics (age-sex structure, etc.) and socio-economic characteristics of this largest urban agglomeration of the country;
  • To examine the implications of such rapid demographic and socio-economic changes with regard to housing, health care, water and sanitation, education, access to services, and employment opportunities.
  • Selected Broad Research Questions
  • Why the people are so obsessed to move into Dhaka City?
  • What are the major constraints faced by the city dwellers in Dhaka?
  • What needs to do in the short, as well as, medium and long-run in order to solve the problems faced by the city dwellers?

The present study will be based on primary data collection and interviews covering 3100 households in Dhaka city. Both quantitative and qualitative information will be utilized.

Team Members: Dr. S M Zulfiqar Ali (Study Director), Dr. S M Zahedul Islam Chowdhury, Humayra Ahmed and Maruf Ahmed

About BIDS

The Bangladesh Unnayan Gobeshona Protishthan or The Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) is an autonomous public multi-disciplinary organization which conducts policy oriented research on development issues facing Bangladesh and other developing countries. 

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