ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Hemanshu KumarSubscribe to RSS - Hemanshu Kumar

Creating Long Panels Using Census Data (1961–2001)

Official data in India are mostly published at the state or district level. Multi-year analyses of these data are made difficult by the many changes in state and district boundaries that have occurred since the first comprehensive census of independent India in 1961. Between 1961 and 2001, the number of states and union territories in India increased from 26 to 35, and the number of districts increased from 339 to 593. There were several changes in both names and boundaries. We document these changes and use them to construct regions of amalgamated districts with constant boundaries.

Mapping Indian Districts across Census Years, 1971-2001

In India, for many empirical questions, states have been the standard unit of analysis and they are a natural starting point for research using official data sources because state governments set political agendas and budgets and administer a wide range of services. The use of more disaggregated district data allows the study of outcomes across regions with similar historical contexts and political regimes. Most districtlevel studies, however, have relied on cross-sectional analysis because district comparisons over time are complicated by multiple boundary changes. As providing information on boundary changes across districts will facilitate the construction of district-level panel data sets, this article provides data on the composition of all Indian districts over the 1971-2001 period that can enable the construction of district panels.

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