The youngest and smallest sub-segment of urban SEC (socio-economic classification) D is made up of households whose chief wage earners are single or married but without children, and who may be a skilled worker with primary school education or an unskilled worker who may have gone to college.
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A majority of these chief wage earners are less than 25 years of age and in two-thirds of the households, they live alone. There is a mix of educational qualifications within this group, and some have gone to college, but less than half of them have completed high school and more than a third have completed middle school. With low education and experience, employment clearly is taken up wherever it is offered.
Manufacturing, trade, hotels and transport, storage and communication are the four leading sectors of employment. However, different cities have different prominent sectors of employment. For instance, Faridabad, Ludhiana, Surat, Amritsar and Thane have the highest shares employed in manufacturing. In Sonepat, south Goa, Nadia and Hugli, it is trade that is the dominant sector. Yet in most cases the chief wage earners fall in the contractual category; just a little over one-third have regular salaried jobs and fewer than one-fourth are self-employed, running their own businesses.
Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Household incomes mainly fall in the lowest category of less than Rs3 lakh a year; less than 2% of the households earn more than Rs10 lakh a year. This is of course because, by and large, these are single-member households, and even in the larger households, most are run on the earnings of the chief wage earner.
While the largest number of households in this segment are found in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Thane, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Coimbatore, affluent households in this sub-segment, that is those earning more than Rs10 lakh a year, are found in larger numbers in Mumbai, Delhi and Pune. Interestingly, cities like Nagpur, Salem, Indore have more such affluent households than other large cities like Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Most of these chief wage earners are still unmarried, while the spouses of those who have married have, for the most part, finished some level of schooling and are home looking after parents.
The chief wage earner is at the first stage of his career and family life. For the most part, he lives in rented homes or accommodation provided by the employer. Owning a home will come much later. With hardly any seniors or minors in this segment, expenditures would be geared to saving for the self or other family members. In fact, not even half of these households have purchased even a two-wheeler, the first vehicle to be picked up when the chief wage earner is more secure about his earning potential. Television sets are to be found in a little fewer than three-fourths of the households, again a pointer that the households and families are yet to get established.
While this sub-segment spends less time watching TV and more listening to the radio compared with the other sub-segments in SEC D, it spends comparatively a lot of time on the Internet. The use of the Internet is relatively new but is spreading fast, especially among the young, who need to be connected. This is cutting across educational and occupational profiles. Usage of Internet is bound to rise over the years across all segments, as families mature and these chief wage earners move into the next sub-segment of mature urban SEC D families.
Graphic by Paras Jain/Mint