ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rural–Urban Disparity in the Standard of Living across States of India

A Preliminary Estimate

The rural–urban disparity in the standard of living in India is estimated on the basis of per capita consumption or use of non-durable goods, durable consumer goods, and house and living facilities enjoyed by the population of the rural and urban sectors in major states of India in 2011–12. This estimate shows that the rural–urban disparity in the standard of living is the highest in Jharkhand and Odisha and the lowest in Punjab and Kerala. The interstate variation in rural–urban disparity is negatively correlated with per capita state domestic product, degree of urbanisation, level of agricultural development, and per capita amount of remittances received by rural households. It is positively correlated with the percentage of state population below the poverty line.


In spite of the universal concern about the wide disparity in the standard of living of rural and urban sectors in India, no systematic estimate of the extent of this disparity seems to exist. The absence of separate information on the per capita income of rural and urban sectors is probably the reason for there being no study on the extent of the ruralurban disparity in the standard of living in India. In the present study, an attempt is made to quantify the gap in the rural and urban standard of living on the basis of per capita amount of goods/services consumed/used by people of the two sectors. The ruralurban standard of living disparity score estimated is an ordinal index that helps in ranking the states on a ruralurban disparity basis. It gives an approximate preliminary picture of ruralurban disparity across the states. A more accurate estimate of ruralurban disparity, of course, can be made only when separate data on rural and urban sectors per capita domestic product becomes available. Although an all-India estimate of ruralurban disparity in the standard of living is also calculated, it is used mainly as the average situation with which the condition of each state can be compared. Given the continental size of India and the great diversity of agroclimatic, demographic, cultural, economic and political conditions of the Indian states, the more relevantin terms of ruralurban conflict and welfare policydimension of ruralurban disparity in standard of living is the disparity in the standard of living of rural and urban populations in each state (Harriss 1999).

RuralUrban Disparity: Theoretical Underpinnings

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Published On : 17th Jan, 2024

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