17 June 2015

How much money do we actually need?

Insights from a small sample survey on whether Indians think they make enough

How much money do Indians need to survive on? It’s a simple question, but one that gets asked rarely, so a small new sample survey has some valuable insights.

This is not a debate about the poverty line, which is set by the government by taking a basket of goods, and determining how much money a person would need to buy them. There are problems with the methodology, the consumption expenditure figures used to calculate it are criticised as being too low, and the line is quite universally accepted to be what P. Sainath describes as a ‘destitution line’ rather than a poverty line. Let’s leave the poverty line aside for now.

How much money do Indians themselves think that they need to survive on? The polling agency CVoter conducted a poll on the eve of the budget in late February, the results of which they shared with me.

CVoter interviewed 1,942 randomly selected people and weighted the sample to India’s demographic and economic profile. This is a small sample, so I’ve discarded their state-level findings and am looking at the national-level ones only. They asked people – how much money does a family of four need to survive? Here’s what they found.

Read the news report from The Hindu

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