Mapping Access to Toilets between Social Groups

A while back, I had done a toilet map of India. That map didn’t cover the critically important issue of how access to a toilet at home differs across social groups. In context of the recent horrific crime in UP, when two young dalit girls stepped out of their house to relieve themselves and were raped and hanged, I thought I would update that map to look at access to such facilities between disadvantaged social groups such as dalits and tribals on the one hand, and non-dalit / non-tribal households on the other.

The map below reflects that difference in access across districts. For each district, I calculated the percentage of dalit/tribal households with access to a toilet at home. I did the same calculation for households which were neither dalit nor tribal, as classified by the census. By dividing the two, we get a measure of how disparate the access is. For instance, in the district of Budaun, where the crime occurred, 15% of dalit homes according to the 2011 census, had access to a toilet at home, compared with 35% of non-dalit or non-tribal homes. This gives me a disparity measure of about 0.43 (15% divided by 35%). And so on for each district.

A measure close to one, or above it, means that both sets of households are equally well-off – or equally badly-off depending on the state. The same calculation was done for tribal households. Click anywhere on the map to switch between maps of dalit or tribal households. For districts where either social group is less than 4% of the population, I have not calculated or mapped the relevant area.

(Hover your mouse over any district for the numbers. Click or tap on any part of the map to switch between mapping of the disparity measure for dalit and tribal households. Lighter coloured areas are districts with lower disparity in access. The green areas are those where the disparity measure is above 0.9. This includes areas where dalit/tribal homes actually have better access to toilets than non-dalit/non-tribal homes i.e. the disparity measure is greater than one)

What do we see in this map?
* Four regions – Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat and North East states stand out from the rest of the country, in having generally lower disparity measures than elsewhere, for dalits. In addition, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh seem to be relatively better off than other areas as well.
* The southern states of Karnataka, Andhra and Tamil Nadu are interesting. All three are relatively higher income states – yet on the disparity measure for dalits, their performance is spotty at best.
* For most districts, tribal households are even worse off than dalit households when it comes to access to toilets. The disparity measure for the country as a whole, for dalits, is about 0.61. For tribals, it is 0.43. Again, the North-East states stands out when it comes to access to toilets for tribal households vis-a-vis non-tribal households.

Note that the disparity measure is a relative one. It is entirely possible to have a wealthier district where dalits are better off in absolute terms compared with dalits in a poorer area. However, relative to upper caste neighbours within their own district, they could be shown as being less well off.

The chart below shows the measures state-wise. I haven’t adjusted for states with low dalit or tribal populations in this chart.

Notes :
All data from census 2011. The data table is here.
Map made with D3. Bar chart made using R/ggplot2. Colors palette adapted from colorbrewer.

June 7, 2014

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