The majority of households in the top 112 cities in India constitute between three and five persons, including children and adults. Yet, at least a quarter of the households have at least six persons in it, and just 15% consist of one-two people living under one roof.
Also See Size Matters (Graphic)
Typically, cities in southern India and larger cities tend to have smaller households. This is partly due to lower fertility rates among women who are better educated and live in households with higher incomes—both more likely in the south and in larger cities. But education and awareness are not the only criteria that determine household size.
Cities that are growing rapidly and have high levels of in-migration also tend to have smaller households. Early migrants tend to be unmarried, and, even if married, may live by themselves. It is only after a few years of living in a new location, and after they establish themselves, do their families join them.
It is for this reason that cities such as Allahabad, Kanpur, Srinagar or Gulbarga—with low economic growth and in-migration—tend to have a larger share of large-sized households. Cities such as Faridabad, Kanchipuram and Mangalore that are relatively more dynamic with high economic growth tend to have fewer large households.
The size of a household has a huge impact on purchases of consumer goods. Larger households typically spend less on consumer goods on a per capita basis as they are able to share better. For the same reason, larger households are more able to afford better quality of consumer goods.
Demand Curve is a weekly column by research firm Indicus Analytics Pvt. Ltd on consumer trends and markets. Your comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
Graphic by Ahmed Raza Khan / Mint