In 1881, the then Kolhapur State had a population of 8,00,189. The Kolhapur district of today had a population of 12,27,547 in 1951. The decrease in the area covered by these two censuses is of 21.4 square miles; the area in 1881 census was 2,816 square miles and was 2,794.6 in 1951. Therefore the percentage of increase in the population over the period of the last 70 years (1881-1951) can be placed at 53.4. Of the total population of the district, 6,36,990 persons or 51.89 per cent, were self-supporting persons; and 3,80,878 or 31.02 per cent were earning dependents.

The process of urbanization is an index of social as well as of the economic changes. In the census of 1881 the then Kolhapur State had five towns; in 1951 they had gone up to 19. In 1951, the percentage of urban population to the total population of the district was 22.6. Historically speaking the rate of growth in the urban population was far higher than that in the rural population. Since 1881 the rural population increased by 29.4 per cent., whereas the urban population showed an increase of 320 per cent.