In India’s northwestern state of Rajasthan, poverty is present in 62.8% of the population according to the multidimensional poverty rate. However, the rate of poverty in India has been gradually decreasing, meaning that certain households are leaving poverty and becoming middle-class.How did these households manage to break from the majority and leave poverty? Understanding this is important as a matter of public policy, and could lead to a steep decrease in the number of people living in poverty.
To understand how people leave poverty, this study focuses on the financial decisions of urban households in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Approximately half of the households surveyed or studied in Jaipur were considered living in poverty and the other half middle class, in order to see which of their past decisions contributed to their financial status.
Data was collected through semi-structured interviews, personal observation, and case studies. Respondents would estimate their income and spending in a typical month. The household spending decisions in distinct categories, including education, health, household expenditures, and weddings or dowries were compared.
This study concludes that education was by far the biggest predictor of economic status.
Eva Moynihan, ’13
Majors: International Relations, French
Sponsor: Aparna Thomas