Caste determines spending on food, choice of work: NSSO

A new data released by the NSSO shows that how much and what people eat and what work they do differssignificantly by caste. However, these differences are likely to be correlated, rather than caused by caste.

Details of the Report:

The data show that

  • While food takes up a larger share of the total expenditure of Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Scheduled Castes (SC) households, compared with those if Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and others, the food items that the different social groups spend on, changes with caste.
  • Higher castes spend significantly more on milk and milk products. But spending on cereals and eggs and meat does not change significantly by caste in absolute terms. Among non-food items, higher castes ramp up their spending on education and rent.
  • While in general SC and ST households spend substantially less than OBC and upper caste ones, substantial regional differences exist.
  • The total consumption expenditure of a rural SC household in Tamil Nadu is more than that of an upper caste household in rural Bihar, while that of a rural SC household in Kerala is almost as much as that of an upper caste rural household in Gujarat.
  • SC households are most likely to be engaged in casual labour in rural areas, but in regular wage jobs in urban areas, while OBC and upper caste households are more likely to be self-employed or in salaried jobs.

Sources: The Hindu.

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