ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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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.

The authors are grateful to Kritika Goel and Mahima Vasishth for research assistance.

The Indian federal structure consists of states, which have elected governments, and centrally administered union territories. Early changes in state boundaries after independence aimed at creating coherent linguistic and cultural units within a federal structure. More recent changes have resulted from a combination of identity-based mass movements within existing states and political responses to them at strategic stages during electoral cycles. District changes occurred initially to absorb the many princely states and, later, as a means to expand the government as populations grew. Many excellent accounts of these changes are available (Chandra 2007; Tillin 2013).

Since official data is mostly published at the state and the district levels, multi-year analyses are made difficult by the changes in the state and district boundaries. 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 changes in both names and boundaries. We document these changes and use them to construct regions of amalgamated districts with constant boundaries. There are 232 such regions that can be traced from 1961 to 2001. These can form the basis of multi-year panels of Indian district data.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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