17 April 2013

Awesome South Asian Economic Data Presentations

The blog Data Stories does a stunning job of visually presenting data about the economy of India.  I've added it to the blog roll. For example, it is one thing to see per capita GDP data, and quite another to see statistics like this:

Around 18% of households in India don’t own any of the assets listed on the census form – that means no phone, no TV or radio, and no bicycles or other vehicles of any kind. [In many county sized districts in India the percentage is 48% or more.] . . . Take a look at the map below. It maps the proportion of households in each district, who told census-takers that they own all of the following – a TV set, a phone, a computer and a vehicle (scooter/motorcycle or car). That number, for the country as a whole, is 4.6% (roughly 11 million households). I leave you to draw your own conclusions about what it means to be ‘privileged’ in this country.

Admittedly, I don't own a television set myself. But, that is something of a first world fluke that reflects abundance in other domains. It isn't uncommon for there to be in my apartment that houses my two children and I at any given time four laptop computers, two iPods, two cell phones, a Kindle, and five radios (including the one in my SUV) as well as a networked printer, a wireless router with a high speed internet connection, and a bicycle with a flat tire. Very few people in the top 4.6% of the U.S. wealth distribution would like any of these items which I suspect around half of Americans who are in poverty own. Anyway, here's the interactive map:
Another great graphic (also interactive) is this one:

Also, as my Sociology 101 professor made clear to me early on, it is important to keep in mind that with many technologies, like televisions and phones, the difference between having only a handful in a village and having none can be huge in their cultural impact.

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