Cell phone ownership & internet access = better socioeconomic state

Owning cell phones and internet connectivity add to our expenses but also enhance our socioeconomic position, according to a new research by Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

The research correlates cell phone ownership and access to internet with Human Development Index (HDI).  It took into consideration the state, area of residence, age, religion, educational qualification, Internet connectivity and social status. The researchers studied the National Sample Survey’s 66th data for the year 2009-10.  And I quite like the way the study was done. Since it’s right up my alley, I thought I should tell you more about this developing trend in India.

Teledensity and HDI

The HDI was found to be higher in the states which showed higher telephone density or teledensity in both its rural and urban counterparts. The highest teledensity of 0.21 was found in Kerala. It also showed the greatest HDI of 0.764.  Goa boasted of an HDI equal to Kerala with the teledensity of 0.20. The teledensity of Maharashtra was 0.15; the HDI dropped to 0.689. A direct correlation was discovered when the researchers mapped the states’ teledensity with their HDI.

The households that owned cell phones also showed more expenses, along with better HDI.  The research found that households with cell phones and network connectivity were spending more than their counterparts who didn’t own either of them. Households, in Sikkim, possessing cell phones spent 87% more than the households that didn’t possess one. In Maharashtra, households with cell phone spent 67% more.

More inclusive network availability

The research also drew attention to the disparity in technology ownership. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar constitute a big part of the cell phone market even though they’ve substantially lesser teledensity. UP forms 1/6th of the total cell phone market and Bihar 6% of the total.

The disparity could be due to the socio-economy and demography of the states. The network availability needs to be more comprehensive and wide-reaching to cover up the discrepancy, suggests the research. And I quite agree with their recommendation. More such studies will reveal the emerging socio-economic fabric of the country.