One out of 6 people in the world live in India. But just how big is India? And how can we think about the country and its economy when its population and GDP varies so vastly from state to state? One way would be to look at the size of each state, in relation to its GDP and population. But what would the numbers really mean? Another way would be to compare each state to a country (with one thirds of the world’s population, each state really is that significant!).
According to the 2011 census, India’s population grew to 1.2 billion in the past decade by 181 million people – that’s the population of Brazil. In 2010, India’s GDP was the top 4 in the world, but it’s GDP per person was ranked 126 in the world; at US$3,339 it’s US$10,500 below the world average. Making Indian’s among the poorest in the world.
It’s even more shocking when the GDP per person of each state in India is compared to another country in the world. The Indian equivalents show up as the poorest countries in the world. Madhya Pradesh has the same GDP per capita as Benin of about US$1,500 – making it among the poorest countries in the world.
Not only is wealth unevenly distributed geographically, so are scarce resources. Combine that with high population growth and you get serious social issues. One of them is unemployment and the lack of employment opportunities. While India has experienced massive industrial growth, there’s been virtually no increase in the demand for labour with increased machinery in the agricultural sectors. For most of the population, this signals a shrinking job market.
India’s other concern when it comes to its rapidly growing population is that its population growth might outstrip increases in food output. For many Indians, life is a big enough struggle just to put together the bare essentials for survival, but shortages of resources makes things even worse, especially for the poor and underprivileged.
While India’s economy as a whole was resilient throughout the global financial crisis, the total figures simply don’t paint the real story. Poverty, famine and unemployment remain massive social and economic issues for the emerging economy. People are starting to wonder; will these problems derail India’s economic growth story?
Read the full report by Liz Zuliani on EconomyWatch: Comparing India to the World