This infographic kicks off a set of posts that will delve into various aspects of income and expenditure distribution in India. This one describes the proportion of expenditure spent on various categories.

India MPCE - expenditure data

The pie chart on top shows how the average monthly expenditure per capita gets divided over several categories. But, as we all know, averages can be misleading. Hence the line chart below that shows how the percentages vary for different fractiles of the population.

The pie-chart clearly shows that food is the single largest component of the average expenditure basket, at 38.5% of the total average monthly expense per capita. What is even more interesting to see is how the proportion of expenditure on food varies with income, this is explored in the line chart (with expenditure fractiles being the proxy for income). The poorest 5% have a per capita monthly expenditure of Rs. 700.5; for this segment, expenditure on food is over half their total monthly expenditure. The richest 5% , on the other hand, spend only 23% of their monthly expenditure on food.

A similar trend can be seen in a few other categories, one of them being fuel and power. While on an average, the spend on these is 7.6% of total expenditure, it comprises almost 13% of the monthly expenditure of the poorest. As a proportion of their total expenditure, they spend more for electricity or cooking fuel than the richest do.

Many other nuggets buried within this infographic, but I’ll leave it to you to discover those ; we’ll be back soon to explore another facet of income and expenditure distribution.

  • Ravindra Ramavath