Material Poverty & Privilege in India
April 14, 2013 10:02 PM   Subscribe

Thanks for this.

One statistic that is perhaps surprising (due to the prevailing media narrative of "hi tech India") is that there is more malnutrition in India than Sub-Saharan Africa.

About 46 per cent of India's children are malnourished, and in the poorest states -- like Madhya Pradesh, as shown on this map -- it's as high as 55 per cent.
posted by dontjumplarry at 10:13 PM on April 14, 2013

This is interesting. Thanks for posting it.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:40 PM on April 14, 2013

Why 1979 was about so much more than Margaret Thatcher's election victory

Would Thatcher succeed now? [transcript]

also btw re: malnourishment, Freedom From Famine & Grow More GM [opensource]

oh and GDELT: a big data history of life, the universe and everything - "The Global Data on Events, Location and Tone promises to be the ultimate big database - and an amazing tool for data journalists. But what is it?"
posted by kliuless at 12:45 AM on April 15, 2013

Thanks! Tremendously interesting.
posted by Wolof at 1:07 AM on April 15, 2013

Thanks, really interesting!

it doesn’t seem to make too much sense to talk off-handedly about ‘richer’ and ‘poorer’ states.

Hmm, while I respect this blogger's take on the data, I'm not sure remarkable variation within states necessarily means that they constitute an un-useful level of analysis, since states generate unique policy contexts. Though I have actually lived in India, I'm not well-versed on the workings of Indian government, so apologies if my analogy is ill-suited-- but here in another federal republic, the US, state political climates lead to very different outcomes for people of facially similar means. For example, being poor in my current state of Georgia feels very different from being similarly poor (controlling for cost of living, etc.) in other states that I've lived in, such as New York.
posted by threeants at 1:56 AM on April 15, 2013

I'm not sure remarkable variation within states necessarily means that they constitute an un-useful level of analysis, since states generate unique policy contexts

Well, India is... differently federal from the US, in that while proactive state governmental policy can positively impact poverty rates, many of the big welfare schemes such as the NREGA are run by the federal government. So there isn't much variation in welfare schemes between states; always important to remember that states in India are significantly less powerful than those in the US, there's nothing like states' rights or state constitutions. State governments are ultimately a combination of administrative convenience with some supra-national cultural-linguistic identities thrown in.

With that in mind, you must appreciate this: the map shows districts (equivalent to counties?) across the country; it is still possible to trace out individual states here. In fact, I'll even say this; it is quite fascinating that you can still trace state-boundaries in the first map, at least in center/south-central regions of the country. The maximum jumps you see there, say from Chittoor district's 20% to Vellore's 7.4%, or Nanded's 32% to Nizamabad's 16%, are across state boundaries, while the more gradual jumps, say Mandya's 16% to Mysore's 13% (even though they have different shades) are within a state.

Now obviously, this doesn't hold that well in all cases; Dangs district with 53% and Nandurbar with 54% are in Gujarat and Maharashtra respectively. But yes, you can see quite a few state boundaries in that map there.

The other map there, that of the five percenters has less state differences; for instance, the blue blob in the center-north, that of the National Capital Region, encompasses three neighbouring states. Now one reasonable criticism of this map is the inclusion of computers in the list of assets - indeed, I think it'd be more interesting to remove computers from this list and then map asset-ownership, and I think it'd bring out urban versus rural comparisons more finely - but doing so would belie the whole IT revolution shit wouldn't it.
posted by the cydonian at 3:40 AM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Thanks for that clarification. I am definitely ignorant of (and interested to learn about) the various ways Indian states are able and unable to exercise individual sub-federal powers.
posted by threeants at 3:54 AM on April 15, 2013

Yeah it's definitely interesting to me as a native of Tamil Nadu (the southeast most state) that the border between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh is so stark. One of my friends has gotten a job that involves marketing TV shows to emerging markets in the Northern Indian states. This is a pretty crazy job that involves organizing talent shows loosely connected to the TV channel in remote villages. Man, the stories he tells are pretty crazy. The one thing he keeps talking about is how the nature of poverty in these tiny villages in Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh is just of a whole another level, compared to what he'd seen in Tamil Nadu before.
posted by peacheater at 7:11 AM on April 15, 2013

Thanks for posting this. This is great.
posted by vidur at 1:40 PM on April 15, 2013

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