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Women Head 23 Million Rural Households

Abheet Singh Sethi,
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There are nearly 23 million households headed by women in rural India, according to data  released by the Socio-Economic and Caste Census 2011, higher than the census count of 17 million.

 

Of the 23 million, more than half (53%) depend on casual, manual labour, marginally higher than 51% of men-headed households. Put together, these figures indicate the extent of distress in rural areas.

 

Up to 24% of households headed by women are farmers (IndiaSpend and Khabar Lahariya had explored their lives here) as against 31% of households headed by men.

 

Source: Socio-Economic and Caste Census

 

Number of Rural Households (left) and % of Women-headed Households (right)

Source: Census 2011; Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011

 

Nearly 79% (over 18 million) of households headed by women in rural India live on less than Rs 33 per day, compared with around 74% of households headed by men.

 

IndiaSpend had earlier reported how 670 million Indians in rural areas live on Rs 33 per day.

 

Source: Socio-Economic and Caste Census

 

While 94% of houses (around 21.7 million) headed by women live in owned houses, this is marginally lower than 95% of households run by men.

 

Source: Socio-Economic and Caste Census

 

Up to 29% of women-headed houses are kuccha (not solid). It is only here that they are better than men-headed households, nearly 30% of whom live in kuccha houses.

 

Only 47% of women-headed households live in pucca (permanent) houses, against 48% for men-headed households.

 

Having a pucca house is an indicator of a higher standard of living.

 

Source: Socio-Economic and Caste Census

 
(Sethi is an analyst with IndiaSpend.)

 
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