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D.Muthukrishnan (Muthu), Certified Financial Planner- Personal Financial Advisor

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Data & Bias

Posted by Muthu on November 13, 2014

Whenever I share statistics about poor and rich, I get some emails stating that rich in India is under stated whereas poor in India over stated. May be. Data accuracy in India is not as precise as say in U.S. It can be said as only moderately accurate. But the data available on rich and poor, income distribution etc. as made available by NSSO (National Sample Survey Organisation), World Bank, Global wealth management reports etc. are broadly in sync. Approximate data is better than no data.

What I want to share in this piece is how we get biased on numbers based on what we know, do or whom we interact with. If many people in our known circle are rich, we extrapolate and think that higher percentage of population is rich.

I randomly checked with few people as to how many viewers may be there for the popular ‘News Hour’ (Times Now) show of Arnab Goswami. The answer I got ranged from few millions to few crores. In reality, the show is watched by less than 4 lakh people every night. Yes only 4 lakhs out of 1200 million people, which is 0.033% of population. But you check with randomly chosen 10 of your contacts, at least 5 may say they watch it once in a while. If we extrapolate, we may conclude that 50% of urban India watches this show. We form opinion about the world based on the crowd we move with.

All English News channels put together do not have more than 10 lakh viewers.

Out of 30 crore household in India, only 12 crore households have television. This means, 60% of the population still has no access to television. Roughly only 25 crore out of our 120 crore population watch television every day.

The above data are taken from this insightful piece.

Working population in India is around 600 million. IT (Information Technology) is the most talked about sector. IT & BPO put together employs only around 30 lakhs of the above population; which is mere 0.5%.

There is again sense of disbelief when we say that the total number of shareholders and mutual fund investors in India is not more than 1 crore; 0.8% of population. You are all part of this precious 1%.

All the business news papers in India does not have more than 13 lakhs readership (only readership, not even sales number). Economic Times is roughly around 7 lakhs, Mint around 3 lakhs, all the other papers – Business Standard, Businessline & Financial Express put together around 3 lakhs.

The above number holds good for business channels as well. All the channels put together has around 10 lakhs+ viewership.

Again these numbers represents just 1% of the population.

We all belong to 1% of the population, know and interact with people in the same segment and think that rich is under stated and poor is over stated. How many of us personally know even a single household which does not have a television?

Can’t think of any household…..?

We are the 1%.

One Response to “Data & Bias”

  1. Muthu said

    “Out of 30 crore household in India, only 12 crore households have television.” 18 crore households don’t have a television.

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