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In India, more cell phones than toilets

March 14, 2012: 4:56 PM ET

More people in India have cell phones, than access to toilets.

New data from the country's 2011 census shows 59% of Indian households have a mobile phone. Only 47% have a toilet on the premises (and that includes pit latrines that don't use running water).

India is among the most rapidly growing countries in the world. The IMF estimates its economy grew 7.4% last year alone. That said, it is still one of the poorest.

People in India earn an average of $5,368 a year, compared to $55,622 per person in the United States. (Those are IMF numbers, and yes, they are adjusted for cost of living in each country).

Limited access to toilets is a major problem for developing countries, putting drinking water for millions of people at risk. India has the worst of the problem. With 626 million people who practice "open defecation," the country has more than twice the number of the next 18 countries combined.

Here's a list of the top 10 countries facing this challenge, according to the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

  • India (626 million people who "practice open defecation")
  • Indonesia (63 million)
  • Pakistan (40 million)
  • Ethiopia (38 million)
  • Nigeria (34 million)
  • Sudan (19 million)
  • Nepal (15 million)
  • China (14 million)
  • Niger (12 million)
  • Burkina Faso (9.7 million)
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About This Author
Annalyn Censky
Annalyn Kurtz
Writer, CNNMoney

Annalyn Kurtz is a senior writer at CNNMoney, where she covers America's jobs crisis, Federal Reserve policy and other economic news. Before joining the site in 2010, she served as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in Prague and interned at Fortune Small Business magazine. @annalynkurtz

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