Abstract

The article attempts to find the economic and non-economic factors determining sanitation coverage in a low income country like India. Based on National Sample Survey data of India, the analysis finds that income a has low impact, while non-economic factors have an equal or higher impact on access and use of latrines. The number of household members has a negative impact on both access and use of latrines. Access to and use of latrines depends on gender, age, and education of the household head. Both access and use also depend on the main occupation, religion, and caste of households. Access to water supply and dwelling materials also impacts access to and use of latrines. Households headed by younger people or those living in hired houses are more likely to access public or common latrines. Access to sanitation also depends on the region and hence the norms and customs of the region. Contrary to expectations, a lesser proportion of households have access to latrines if they own a house versus those who reside in hired dwellings. Quality, cleanliness of latrines and other personal preferences matter in the use of latrines. Public and community toilets for youths, more than one latrine for larger households, and social campaigning are suggested for public policy.

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