Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mumbai's PARSI Colonies

The PARSI community of Mumbai stays in numerous walled colonies all across the city,
popularly they as known as the Parsi Colonies.

Some interesting facts about the Parsis:

Indian census data has established that the number of Parsis has been steadily declining for several decades. The highest census count was of 114,890 individuals in 1940-41, which includes the crown colony populations of present-day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Post-independence census data is only available for India (1951: 111,791) and reveal a decline in population of approximately 9% per decade.

According to the National Commission for Minorities, there are a "variety of causes that are responsible for this steady decline in the population of the community", the most significant of which were childlessness and migration (Roy & Unisa 2004, p. 8, 21). Demographic trends project that by the year 2020 the Parsis will number only 23,000 (less than 0.0002% of the 2001 population of India). The Parsis will then cease to be called a community and will be labeled a 'tribe'(Taraporevala 2000, p. 9).

One-fifth of the decrease in population is attributed to migration (Roy & Unisa 2004, p. 21). A slower birthrate than deathrate accounts for the rest: as of 2001, Parsis over the age of 60 make up for 31% of the community. The national average for this age group is 7%. Only 4.7% of the Parsi community are under 6 years of age, which translates to 7 births per year per 1000 individuals (Roy & Unisa 2004, p. 14).

The gender ratio among Parsis is unusual, as of 2001, the ratio of males to females was 1000 males to 1050 females (up from 1024 in 1991), due primarily to the high median age of the population (elderly women are more common than elderly men). The national average was 1000 males to 933 females.

Parsis have a high literacy rate: as of 2001, the literacy rate is 97.9%, the highest for any Indian community (the national average is 64.8%). 96.1% of Parsis reside in urban areas (the national average is 27.8%).

In the Greater Mumbai (formerly Bombay) area, where alomost 70% of all Parsis reside, 10% of Parsi females and 20% of Parsi males do not marry (Roy & Unisa 2004).

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