The earliest record of Belgaum population is in 1820, when it had population of 7652 people lodged in 1309 houses. One- third of these were Marathas, one-sixth Musalmdins mostly connected with religious establishments, one-sixth Lingayats, one-eighth Jains, one-ninth Brahmans chiefly
Deshasths and Karhades, and the rest artisans of various sorts.
The choice of Belgaum as the head-quarters of the Collectorate and as the chief military station in the Karnataka brought a large accession to the population, chiefly Marwadi traders, Madrasi Mhar
and Pendhari camp followers, and upper class Hindus in Government.
In 1852 the population of Belgaum including the village of Khasbag and probably Shahpur amounted to about 30,000 including between 13,000 to 14,000 who lived in the camp. In 1866 the town population numbered 16,514.
Increasing to 19,371 and to 24,366 in the next two years. In 1870 the opening of the Amboli pass and the direct communication with the port of Vengurla in Ratnagiri brought a further increase to the trade and population of the town.
The 1872 census showed a population of 26,947, of whom 19,384 were Hindus, 5517 Muslims, 1757 Christians, and 289 Others.
The 1881 census gave for the city a population of 23,115 and for the Cantonment of 9582, that is a total population of 32,697. Of these 22,939 were Hindus, 7136 Muslims, 2481 Christians, 53 Parsis and 88 Jews. This on 1725 square acres gives an average density of about nineteen to the square acre.
Belgaum does not appear to have been a large town either under the Houses, Musalmans (1350-1750) or under the Marathas (1750-181 8). In 1820 two years after its capture it had 1309 houses lodging about 7700 persons, and of these a good many must have been added in 1818 when about 300 houses in the fort were pulled down. In 1820 the houses which were thinly scattered are described as better than in most parts of India.
In 1872 Belgaum had 4388 houses, 827 of which were of the better. These lodged 26,947 persons or and 3561 of the poorer sort. Average of 6.14 persons to each house. Of late the town has spread towards the north-west and south-west and many houses have been built chiefly by husbandmen who hold land near the town. In 1881 the number of houses was increased to 7713. All the houses are tiled.
Source: Gazeetteer of Bombay Presidency (1884)