ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rise of the New Middle Class in India and Its Changing Structure

After being largely stable between 1999–2000 and 2004–05, the new middle class in India (that is, those spending between $2 and $10 per capita per day) doubled in size between 2004–05 and 2011–12, amounting to nearly half of India’s population. This growth, though largely in the lower middle class category, happened across a majority of states in both rural and urban areas. Structurally, the new middle class is quite different from the conventional understanding of it. Although dominated by upper castes, other caste groups too have entered the new middle class in large numbers. The occupational structure within the class is heterogeneous. The lower middle class is engaged in occupations similar to that of the poor, whereas the upper middle class is involved in traditional service activities as well as in new knowledge services.

The authors are grateful to Niels Beerepoot and Bart Lambregts for their feedback on this paper, to Kabir Agarwal for GIS assistance and to Pallavi Belhekar and Mayank Gupta for assistance with the National Sample Survey Offi ce data analysis. This research is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientifi c Research–Science for Global Development.

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Updated On : 1st Jun, 2017
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