Overcrowding leads to a chronic problem of shortage of houses in urban areas. This problem is specifically more acute in those urban areas where there is large influx of unemployed or underemployed immigrants who have no place to live in when they enter cities/towns from the surrounding areas.
The Census of India 2001 concluded the first ever and the largest survey of household amenities and assets which points a never-before profile of problem relating to housing in India. The outcome is both instructive and amusing. Taking India as whole, there are 179 million residential houses, i.e., about six people to each house.
Thirty-nine per cent of all married couples in India (about 86 million) do not have an independent room to themselves. As many as 35 per cent (18.9 million) urban families live in one-room houses.
For about a third of urban Indian families, a house does not include a kitchen, a bathroom, a toilet-and in many cases there is no power and water supply. Only 79 per cent (42.6 million) urban household live in permanent (pucca) houses. 67 per cent (36 million) of the urban houses are owned by the households while 29 per cent (15 million) are rented.
Several factors are responsible for the above mentioned sad state of affairs with respect to housing problems faced by the urban people. The major factors are shortage of building materials and financial resources, inadequate expansion of public utilities into sub-urban areas, poverty and unemployment of urban immigrants, strong caste and family ties and lack of adequate transportation to sub-urban areas where most of the vacant land for new construction is located.