India's Deep North

In my post Pakistan ~10 years on I alluded to the fact that despite India’s robust economic growth of the past ~15 years or so in the aggregate there is a wide range of state-by-state variation. It is conventional in the media to point out the massive caste/class divisions in India, but because of the lack of familiarity with the geography of that nation there’s less reference to the regional gulfs. But if you look at the state-level data they’re rather large. The total fertility in the northern gangetic states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is ~4, while that in the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu is ~2. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are not trivial states, rather, they’re the two most populous! Additionally, they’re a meaty portion of the South Asian “Cow Belt”, the cultural heart of the subcontinent. The first great historic polities of South Asia, that of the Maurya and Gupta, had their focus in what is today Bihar, while later on the Muslim dynasts famously operated from a base around the region of Delhi in Uttar Pradesh. In the Indian cultural geography these states are the heart of Āryāvarta.

Wikipedia has a set of pages which rank the states of India by various metrics. The tables themselves are illuminating, but for non-Indian readers I thought a series of thematic maps would be better. Additionally, I added one scatterplot.


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