#Focus ICAS12 | Household partition and economic diversification in a north Indian village (1958-2015)
This contribution aims to analyse whether specific demographic patterns, in terms of household structure and fertility, have been evolving with the structural transformations of Indian rural society. In the agrarian society, the extended joint household was the predominant living arrangement: children incorporated an important function of production in the subsistence sector and living jointly was functional to the economies of scale. With the demographic pressure on cultivable land, the multiplication of the sources of livelihood and the increasing demand for education, we would expect the rationale of living arrangements to change. But is this the case? Although nuclear households have slightly increased overall in India, joint households are still preferred by the majority. Previous studies concerning the determinants of the household structure in rural India leads to incongruent conclusions mainly owing to problems of definition and scarcity of longitudinal data. Using unique individual-level data of the entire population of Palanpur, a village in Uttar Pradesh, surveyed seven times from 1958 to 2015, we estimate the probability of three generations of adult males to partition from their households of origin. We identify a set of relevant determinants at individual and household levels, including landholding size, adult/child ratio, education, occupation and migratory background. Finally, we test whether these demographic patterns are caste specific. Indeed, one of the critical features of this case study is the possibility to disaggregate the four administrative categories of caste, generally used in large-scale surveys, into jatis (sub-castes) which correspond de facto to the birth-ascribed endogamous groups.
Floriane Bolazzi is a post-doctorate fellow in the Department of Sociology and Social Research at University Milano-Bicocca where she works on labour and social mobility issues. She has recently defended her thesis “Caste, class and social mobility. A longitudinal study in north Indian village 1958-2015” at the Université of Paris in a joint PhD with the University of Milan.