A Study to Explore the Effectiveness of a Newly Developed Ses Scale as a Tool for Measuring Ses of the Family in Rural and Urban Areas and to Compare with Commonly used Ses Scale

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Authors : Shalini Baskaran


Socioeconomic status is commonly conceptualized as the social standing or class of an individual or group. It is often measured as a combination of education, income and occupation. Socio economic status (SES) of the people in a country is very essential as it is one of the important factor determining the health, education, mortality, morbidity and nutritional status of an individual. Socioeconomic status also determines the people’s ability to access, afford, accept and utilize the health care services available in the society. The socioeconomic status (SES) is widely recognized as one of the important factors affecting the health condition of an individual or a family.

India is the second largest populated country and Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla in a written statement to RajyaSabha has stated that 27 crore people live below the poverty line in the country. (India Today).

The Planning commission said that the number of those below the poverty line declined to 21.9% of the population in 2011-12, from 29.8% in 2009-10 and 37.2% in 2004-05.The estimate, based on a survey of household consumer expenditure, showed rural poverty declined to 25.7% from 41.8% in 2004-05, while in urban areas it fell to 13.7% from 25.7%. (Economic Times – 2013)

India as a vast democratic country, there is a need in identifying the actual beneficiaries who will be benefitted by the government programs/subsidies. Socio economic status scales are widely used to classify the SES and it is important to analyze that these tools are effective in identifying the SES of the family.

Many different scales are available to measure the SES of a family and most widely used scale in urban community is Kuppuswamy scale (Modified) and it is based 3 categories – education, occupation of the head of the family and Income from all the sources. Modified Prasad scale has been widely used in India and it is mainly based on per capita monthly income. Pareek SES classification scale is used in rural areas and it is based on nine charecteristics caste, occupation, education, level of social participation of head of the family, landholding, housing, farm power, material possession and total members in the family.A conversion factor is calculated based on current All India Consumer Price Index (AICPI) to get current income group. The Government of India in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS -II) had used the Standard of Living Index (SLI) scale which contains 11 items viz. house type, source of lighting, toilet facility, main fuel for cooking, source of drinking water, separate room for cooking, ownership of the house, ownership of agricultural land, ownership of irrigated land, ownership of livestock, ownership of durable goods for measuring the SES both urban and rural areas for the entire country. However each of these scales available for measurement have their own advantages and disadvantages.

The present study had explored the reliability of a newly developed scale which need replication to assess the validity of the tool. It can be used in both urban and rural. 


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