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Household has BPL (below poverty line) card

Codes and Frequencies

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BPLCARDHH indicates whether the household has a BPL (below poverty line) card issued by a branch of the Indian government. Households possessing a BPL card benefit from various social welfare programs, including access to food and fuel at subsidized rates and free or subsidized health care. BPL cards are distributed based on population-based household surveys on expenditures, ownership of property, and other socio-economic indicators.

Using data on the possession of BPL cards and household wealth quintile scores from the 2005 Indian DHS, researchers have found that a substantial minority of BPL cards are in non-poor households (in the third, fourth, and fifth wealth quintiles). Researchers should therefore exercise caution in equating BPL card ownership with current poverty.

The information in BPLCARDHH is taken from the household record and applies to regular household residents, not temporary visitors. Researchers may wish to exclude visitors using the RESIDENT variable (with visitors coded "2") when women, children, or births are the unit of analysis, and using the HHRESIDENT variable when household members are the unit of analysis.


BPLCARDHH has no comparability problems.

Comparability - Standard DHS

BPLCARDHH is a country-specific variable not included in the standard DHS household questionnaire.


  • India 2005: All women age 15-49.
  • India 2015: All women age 15-49.
  • India: 2005-C, 2005-B, 2005-M, 2005-H, 2005-W, 2015-W, 2015-C, 2015-B, 2015-M, 2015-H