Amid India elections, study aligns data with constituencies

phys.org | 7/19/2018 | Staff
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The legal age for women to marry in India is 18, but a recent review of data showed that more than half of marriages in more than half of parliamentary constituencies—the equivalent of U.S. Congressional districts—involved an underage bride.

Just one constituency out of 543 had no women marrying before 18.

Observation - Journalist - GS - Mudur - Trove

This observation, recently made by Indian journalist G.S. Mudur, drew on a trove of health, nutrition, and development data produced and made available recently by a team led by Professor of Population Health and Geography S.V. Subramanian and including Rockli Kim, a research associate at the Center for Population and Development Studies, and College senior Akshay Swaminathan.

Subramanian said the effort was intended to remedy a little-recognized but nonetheless important problem: the mismatch between the geographical units across which data on key human welfare indicators are usually released and the geographical units for which elected representatives are responsible, and the constituents for whom they make decisions that affect health and well-being.

Problem - Countries - Subramanian - Representatives - Areas

"This is a generic problem across all countries," Subramanian said. "For elected representatives, the areas they represent are never in sync with the unit at which data is typically released."

Subramanian, a core faculty member of the Center for Population and Development Studies, targeted India for study not only because is it the world's most populous democracy—with some 900 million voters—but also because its six-week general election is ongoing, concluding May 23.

Health - Data - Areas - US - Instance

Health data is generally released according to standard administrative areas: in the U.S., for instance, by county or town, and in India by district. The problem, Subramanian said, is that these administrative areas don't necessarily coincide with the areas represented by the politicians designing government programs and making decisions about government spending.

As with U.S. Congressional districts, which are often drawn with notoriously irregular boundaries to favor the electoral chances of one party...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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