Number of Indian Districts, 1991-2011

You would think that it is easy to recreate a panel of Indian districts. Sigh, no. There are various complications that arise due to creation of new districts, boundary changes etc. For a neat summary, see Kumar and Somanathan’s 2009 paper in Economic and Political Weekly. (A ungated version of the working paper can be found here. The details are gory, but the tables in the working paper do an excellent job of summarizing the changes.)

I will post the list of districts once I have compiled them all. In the meanwhile, I can share a table that provides the count of districts in each state/union territory in India since 1991, acc. to the census.

Note: if you look at Wikipedia, you will find some discrepancies. For instance, Uttar Pradesh is said to have 75 districts, instead of 70 as recorded by the Census. I am sticking with the latter, but the odd thing is that Wikipedia actually has a link to the UP government website that actually lists all 75 districts. Funny, but true!

Click here to open spreadsheet in separate tab. (To download this data, click on this link and then go to “file” and “save as”)

Results from Census 2011 Household Listing

The results from the houselisting exercise that was conducted as part of the 2011 census have been online for a while now. Most of us know that India’s population is over a billion (1.2 billion to be precise) but some lesser known facts are that the population lives in 244.6 million houses, spread across 0.6 million villages and 7933 towns.

The listing exercise also has collects data on possession of some household assets for communication and transportation. The top 3 modes of communication were: mobile/telephone (63%), television (47%) and radio/transistor (20%), while the top 3 modes of transportation are: bicycle (45%), scooter/moped/motorcycle (21%) and car/jeep/van (5%).

However, the most interesting data point was that 18% of the households do not possess any of the assets i.e. no mobile/telephone, no TV, no radio, no computer, no bicycle nor any vehicle.

The following spreadsheet summarizes the distribution of various household assets:

Click here to view the spreadsheet in a new window/tab.

Places of worship vs. Schools and Hospitals

This week when the Office of the Registrar General of India released its findings of the houselisting exercise, virtually all of the media reported the mobile phones vs. toilets dichotomy like a feeding frenzy – even though a UN report informed us about this trend two years ago! So, while we are at it, comparing apples and oranges, let me present to you a refreshing headline finding: India has more places of worship than the number of schools and hospitals put together*.

Type of census house Total Rural Urban
Place of worship  3,013,140  2,419,700  593,440
School/ College etc.  2,106,530  1,702,048  404,482
Hospital/ Dispensary etc.  683,202  360,170  323,032
Schools + Hospitals  2,789,732  2,062,218  727,514

Source: Census – Houselisting and Housing Census Data Highlights – 2011, Figures at a Glance

Look closely and you will find a rural-urban twist: there are more places of worship (in comparison to schools and hospitals) in rural than in urban India. Does the data tell us something? Well, in a somewhat lighter vein, you could probably argue that since rural India lags its urban counterpart in almost every aspect of development, sab kuch is bhagwan bharose!

For a nuanced analysis, however, disaggregate the data by states and you will find that the data reveals a regional pattern: a majority of the states in the north east (Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya), and a bunch of union territories (Chandigarh, NCT of Delhi, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Puducherry) have fewer places of worships (than schools and hospitals). Some of the other states that deviate from the national picture are: Uttarakhand, Haryana, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. My guess is that the rural India does not have enough medical facilities and that is pulling the number of schools and hospitals down. A possible explanation for the NE states, MP, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh could be that these states have a relatively higher tribal population, who may not practice worship in a closed setting. What do you think? Leave your thoughts below.

To open spreadsheet in new tab/download data, click here.

*Clarification: Census definitions as specified in the instruction manual for house listing and housing census have been implied in this post. School refers to any educational institution or training centre such as pathshala, music school, carpentry training centre, coaching centre, school, college, dancing school, agricultural training centre, adult literacy centre, shorthand and typing institute, computer training centre, vocational training centre, Industrial training institute, etc. Hospital refers to hospital, dispensary, health centre, doctor’s clinic, pathological centre, nursing home, maternity home, dental clinic, vaccination centre, X-ray clinic, first-aid centre, etc. Place of worship refers to temple, gurudwara, mosque, church, prayer hall, satsangh hall, etc. In all cases the census house should be used exclusively for the relevant purpose.

Native languages in India

The Economist had a pretty interesting chart last week that ranked India third in terms of language diversity.

Via: The Economist

I was curious to find out how languages were counted and classified in India and following is the result of my mini-research:

The constitution lists 22 languages in the 8th Schedule and these are called ‘scheduled languages’. Originally, there were only 14 languages listed in the 8th scheduled and since independence three (or two?) amendments were made to include Sindhi, Konkani, Meiteilon, Nepali, Bodo, Dogri, Maithili and Santhali.

The Census of India (since 1971?) reports only those languages which have more than 10,000 native speakers. Hindi is the mother tongue for 41% of Indians, followed by Bengali (8%) Telugu (7%), Marathi (7%), Tamil (6%), Urdu (5%), Gujarati (4%), Kannada (4%), Malayalam (3%), Oriya (3%), Punjabi (3%), Assamese (1%), Maithili (1%), Santali (1%), Kashmiri (1%). Nepali, Sindhi, Konkani, Dogri, Manipuri, Bodo and Sanskrit are spoken by less than 1% Indians.

It is interesting to note that there are 5 non-scheduled languages: Bhili/Bhilodi (Rajasthan/MP/Maharashtra), Gondi (MP/Chhattisgarh), Khandeshi (Maharashtra), Kurukh/Oraon (Andaman and Nicobar/Chhattisgarh/Jharkhand) and Tulu (Karnataka) which have more native speakers than Bodo (which is the scheduled language with least number of speakers, if we do not consider Sanskrit). Here’s the data:

To open spreadsheet in new window/tab, click here.

Chapter 4 of  the Report of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities also has some interesting data regarding the linguistic profile of states (see table 4.2) and a classification of states into 5 categories based on language diversity/linguistic tensions (see table 4.4).

The report is available here.