# What does the wealth distribution among India's lower caste and upper caste look like?

It is well known that UC Hindus own 41% of assets in India when being about 30% of the population, and, the remaining 59% of assets is distributed among the 70% of the UCs. My question is, how exactly does this distribution among the caste it self look like?

So for example, I am looking for a bell curve of asset owned in y-axis with population on x axis.

Motivation: I ask this because, An argument against caste based reservation is that the majority of the 59% wealth is located in a very small subset of the LC category, and, hence they form a 'neo-upper-caste'. Hence, to bring equality, we should do based reservation only on economic status rather than caste.

• The best would probably to not use too large bins but simply rank people in India by their share of the total wealth and then have a full distribution and split into castes or other groups. 41% for 30% doesn't sound very inequal. Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 21:07
• How do you mean by large bin? @Trilarion You need to consider India's population. There is a lot of people in that remaining 70%. Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 21:07
• Upper caste and lower caste is two very large bins. The conclusion you want to draw is probably about averages within that bin. But in reality everyone has a different wealth. It gives a more complete picture to look at full distributions than only at average values. Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 21:09
• Right, I edited so it asks both distribution of upper and LC Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 21:14
• "the remaining 59% of assets is distributed among the 70% of the UCs." Do you mean LC? And I assume that "UC" is short for "Upper Caste", but it took me a while to figure that out. Commented Feb 23, 2022 at 4:13

Yes, there is a lot of inequality within each caste community. Here is a summary of data from a research paper by Nitin Kumar Bharti for World Inequality Lab. This is only paper I could find on this subject that provides detailed data within each caste. It shows how much % of assets the top X% people own in 2012.

Caste Top 1% Top 5% Top 10%
FC/OC 29.4% 47.6% 60%
SC 14.4% 33.5% 46.7%
ST 19.5% 38.93% 51.4%
OBC - - 52%

Here is a direct quote from section `5.3.1 Top Deciles` of the paper reg this

"Within Forward Caste, Top 1% within FC owned almost 13.6% of the total FC wealth in 2002 which increased to 29.4% in 2012. Top 5% owned 32% in 2002 which increased to 47.6% in 2012. And Top 10% now owns 60% of the total FC wealth. This is a drastic change in ten years is which needs more enquiry. The inequality within FC group is the highest."

Within ST, Top 1% owned 10.7% of total ST wealth in 1991, which increased to 15.1% in 2002 and further to above 19.5% in 2012. Top 5% share of total ST wealth increased from 27.7% in 1991 to 38.93% in 2012. Top 10% of share increased from 40.3% in 1991 to 51.4% in 2012. This caste group has seen a consistent rise in within caste inequality

Within SC, Top 1% owned 11.9% of total SS wealth in 1991, which decreased to 10.83% in 2002 and then increased to 14.4% in 2012. Top 5% share of total SC wealth increased from 30.3% in 1991 to 33.5% in 2012. Top 10% of SC share increased from 43.6% in 1991 to 46.7% in 2012. SC has the lowest level of within caste inequality in terms of top decile share.

Within OBC, Top 10% share increased from 46.2% in 2002 to 52% in 2012.

Reference:

• Which caste do the abbreviations the researchers use apply to? Which one is the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishas, etc? Commented Mar 6, 2022 at 20:20
• @nick012000 The one used by the Indian government to classify and group castes. The reasearch paper linked has full details reg this.
– user23583
Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 4:35