The Human Account is led, created and developed by Dalberg with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

Local partners are Lagos Business School in Nigeria, Ashoka University in India, not-for-profit development finance company, Karandaaz in Pakistan, and research and advisory firm, Busara Center for Behavioral Economics in Kenya.

INDIA

Survivors

skeptical, religious, conservative

10% of India  |  97 million

 

Survivors are rural, mostly farmers and have very limited education

and income. They have extremely poor financial health and are stuck

in a vicious cycle of debt which partly drives their extremely low

self-esteem. Survivors mostly learn through one-to-one discussions with family as they are their primary source of support during difficult times, and they are highly distrustful of all formal institutions and the wider community.

Survivors

India Average

INCOME

self-employed

N/A

N/A

formally employed

N/A

N/A

EDUCATION

no education

27%

20%

up to tertiary

N/A

N/A

PHONE

own smartphone

17%

31%

feature phone

68%

61%

LAND

own land

57%

54%

have access to land

N/A

N/A

GENDER (FEMALE)

35%

47%

AGE (18-44)

16%

18%

GEOGRAPHY (RURAL)

90%

73%

SOCIOECONOMIC

19%

SES A-B

FORMAL ACCOUNT

OWNERSHIP

23%

38%

INFORMAL

FINANCIAL USAGE

18%

20%

MOBILE WALLET

OWNERSHIP

3%

8%

TECH USE

(LOWEST FREQUENCY)

74%

64%

 

CONTEXT

Who are they?

“When there was a drought, I didn’t know if I had

enough for my family to have 1 meal a day.”

Y MALLESHWAM

SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS (SES)

Survivors

India

Survivors are very low-SES and the most poorly educated of all the segments. This segment is predominantly rural with the majority of individuals receiving their income from farming. Both men and women fall into this segment, and almost half are below the age of 35.

51% of Survivors report that they take the household decisions themselves, while 25% report that their spouse make the decisions alone. These findings suggest that both men and women in this group may take on and share responsibility.  

HOUSEHOLD DECISION MAKING

Survivors

India

ASPIRATIONS

What do they want?

Survivors aspire to escape the cycle of hand-to-mouth survival and end their constant debt cycle. Often their only wish is to find ways to protect themselves against unplanned financial burdens and shocks, and some form of capturing their savings.

 
 

BEHAVIOR

How do they manage their finances?

“My wife took DWRCA loan. I pay 1,500 rupees per month but

I don’t know how many installments of repayment remain.”

Y MALLESHWAM

Survivors’ overall financial health is significantly below the average for India. This is a reflection of their extreme income volatility with 72% of the segment reporting high to highest income volatility (significantly higher than the national average of 53%). Survivors often find themselves in a constant debt cycle, living from day to day, and frequently failing to meet daily household needs and expenses, perpetuating the cycle.  

INCOME VOLATILITY

Survivors

India

SAVINGS WITH FAMILY OR AT HOME

Survivors

India

Only 19% of Survivors set aside money at home or with a close family member for safekeeping and not for spending. This is much lower than the national average and reflective of their constant debt cycle which hampers them from saving money at regular intervals.

Survivors are very low users of all forms of technology and entertainment. They are the lowest across all segments in their access to smartphones, even if the smartphone is commonly owned in a shared household. They use digital technologies infrequently and are less likely to have access to internet than other segments.
 

Survivors  personally own phones less than average, but have access to a common-property phone in line with the average. Their phone use is concentrated towards making and receiving calls with 55% using their phones less than 2 times a day.

TECH USE FREQUENCY

Survivors

India

 

PSYCHOLOGY

How do they think?

"I saw on TV that people steal from the ATM by finding out

your information. My friend lost all his money this way."

Y MALLESHWAM

Survivors have the lowest self-esteem of all the segments. They have extremely low self belief, and a negative sense of self with 68% scoring in the low to lowest range, compared to 40% of the India average. They have little hope around their future prospects, and do not feel any ability or agency to change them.

 

84% of Survivors believe they have no control over anything good that happens to them, which manifests in a high external locus of control that is highest among all the segments. Their low SES may be a major contributing factor as they are socially isolated, are most likely to live in extreme poverty of all the segments (most likely to have a below the poverty card) and have often experienced very difficult times. Given their low self esteem and very high external locus of control, this segment is most vulnerable of all the segments.

LOCUS OF CONTROL

Survivors

India

CONSCIENTIOUSNESS

Survivors

India

Survivors are very low in their goal-oriented behavior and discipline, with 81% scoring low to lowest in dependability (the lowest across all segments). Survivors lack the tools to build discipline or meet goals and commitments. Part of this low score, is, as with self-esteem, a reflection of their extreme SES and their circumstances. Survivors operate in a constant debt cycle, which leaves little room for an ability to plan. In addition, they save infrequently, with little access to formal finance and room to develop good planning and saving habits. If they do save, they are more likely to save with family, friends and informal groups given the flexibility that they afford.

Only 23% have high to the highest levels of trust in media — the lowest across all segments. Their low trust in media is likely to be a reflection of their general high distrust of institutions, banks and even those within their own community. As the least socially connected of all the segments, Survivors face a double jeopardy as they have very few people to trust and predominantly rely on their immediate family. At the same time, Survivors are also the most in need of help and guidance, especially given they have the poorest financial health of all the segments, with little or no saving habits.


When it comes to informal and formal institutions, Survivors are also the most distrustful of banks across all the segments, with only 5% reporting trust in banks compared to the national average.  Their extreme low trust in banks may be due to their general distrust of others, and because they have directly or indirectly had very negative financial experiences, from rogue money lenders, stories of stolen ATM pin codes and private bank scams.   

SOURCES OF INFORMATION

Survivors

India

INFLUENCE

Survivors

India

Survivors are more considerably distrustful of people than the national average, even their peer network. They chiefly trust and rely on their family as trusted advisors on financial information, with 56% of Survivors turning to their family compared to the national average of 50%. They have strong beliefs about who to trust as a result of negative experiences . Due to their social isolation, they are much less reliant on their friends compared to other segments, with only 14% reliant on friends compared to the average of 20%.

Survivors are very unlikely to be a source of information in their community with 60% reporting that they are low in influence in the community, compared to the average of 29%. Compared to other segments, Survivors live in a more rural areas, and are often socially cut off with only their immediate family to rely on.

Given their low financial literacy and average education, Survivors are the most reliant of all segments on needing others (e.g. family, friends) with them to review financial information, with 51 % reporting they rely on the assistance of others compared to the national average of 23%.

RELIANCE

Survivors

India

 

OPPORTUNITIES

How might we develop simple insurance

schemes that protect consumers in financial

shocks and times of difficulty?

+

How might we address social isolation and lack

of trusted friends and community members

with doorstep grievance mechanisms?

 

USER PROFILE

 

Y Malleshwam

“When there was a drought, I didn’t know if I had enough for my family to have 1 meal a day.”

 

 

Y Malleshwam is a farm laborer who lives in Medak with his wife and daughter. Malleshwam’s only dream is to break away from his family’s hand-to-mouth existence. Y Malleshwam never received formal schooling and has been working on farms since he was 9 years old. He wishes he had been able to have access to a formal education, but his circumstances never afforded him this opportunity.

Y Malleshwam’s main motivation is to create a safety net for his family. Although Malleshwam is yet to build savings, he aspires to be able to have something to fall back on in hard times and ensure the livelihood of his wife and his daughter. He cannot think of anything beyond these circumstances.

USER INSIGHTS

Formal Channels should bundle Protection from Financial

and Health Shocks

With zero assets and savings, Malleshwam is extremely vulnerable to any type of financial shock. Despite the availability of farmer insurance covers such as Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY), Malleshwam has little knowledge of how these schemes work due to low financial literacy.

 

Malleshwam would benefit from a scheme that could bundle a buffer from shocks through an emergency fund and health protection.

Trust Building is Key

Malleshwam has personally experienced a number of negative encounters that have damaged his trust in formal and informal institutions. He now struggles to trust any agent or individual. Formal financial services need to focus efforts on building up trust for these consumers before anything else, and making terms especially clear and easy to understand.

 

Malleshwam needs a product that designs for trust, is framed in clear and easy-to-understand terms, and uses optimistic language to alleviate anxiety around consequences, such as missed repayments.