This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Indian Census Data: More Cell Phones Than Toilets

The 2011 census data from India are coming out now, and some of the findings have been reported in the New York Times. Catching the headlines has been the finding that more people have a cell phone in India than have toilets.
India’s households have, overall, become more comfortable in the past 10 years, but hundreds of millions of people still lack basics like electricity, toilets and a convenient water source, according the Housing Census that was released Tuesday by Home Secretary R. K. Singh. The survey looks about 330 million households in India.
A few highlights:Communication: A telephone, whether a land line or mobile, is used by 63 percent of total households – 82 percent in urban areas and 54 percent in rural areas, an increase of 54 percentage points from 2001. A mobile phone is owned by 59 percent of households.Sanitation: Kitchen facilities are present in 61 percent of households, but 53 percent have no toilet facilities, down from 63 percent in 2001. Just over half of all households, or 51 percent, are connected to some sort of drainage facilities. Bathing facilities are present in 58 percent of homes, up from 21 percent in 2001.
The more rapid penetration of cell phones than toilets is probably true throughout the developing world--it is certainly true in Ghana, where my current research is focused. And that makes sense, since the infrastructure required to create a wireless phone service is considerably less expensive than is required for modern plumbing--including a reliable water supply and a sewerage system.

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