India’s Asset Ownership Patterns: How Public and Private Sectors Differ

An analysis of asset ownership data at the household level collected by Lokniti-CSDS during its National Election Study in 2019 was recently released.

Gauging who can afford the five assets of a car, an air-conditioner at home, a desktop or laptop computer, a refrigerator, and a television set, has been seen as an important indicator of economic well-being in a fast-growing, aspirational economy.

An analysis of asset ownership data at the household level collected by Lokniti-CSDS during its National Election Study in 2019 indicates that no more than 3% of Indian households — that is, 1 in every 33 — own all of these five assets at the same time.

The pace of growth of ownership of these assets has been unexceptional in recent years — five years previously, in 2014, the percentage of households that owned these assets was 2%, or 1 in every 50 households.

The data show major differences in asset ownership among the various social groups. Thus, upper-caste Hindu households are seven times more likely to own all the five assets, compared to Dalit (SC) and Muslim households.

Among religious groups, Sikh households were found to be the most prosperous.

The pattern of asset-ownership varies significantly with how urban the area is. As against about 13% of households in cities, only 5% of households in towns, and merely 1% in villages, could boast of having all of the five assets in 2019.

The highly urbanised or high per-capita-income states of Delhi, Punjab, Goa, and Kerala, in that order, emerged at the top of the table in this regard.

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