Urban Indians want to keep diversity away from family, finds survey

Nearly two-thirds of the respondents to the survey held in June ranked their immediate family in the top two groups of people they consider to be their community
Nearly two-thirds of the respondents to the survey held in June ranked their immediate family in the top two groups of people they consider to be their community


  • Around 57% of the respondents to the latest YouGov-Mint-CPR survey said they wouldn’t compromise on their desire for an opposite-sex partner for their child. Many were uncomfortable with partners with disabilities or those from a different faith.

Immediate family members are the mainstay of young Indians’ preferred social habitats despite their desire for friendships; interfaith marriages and same-sex relationships are yet to gain acceptance in society; and regional stereotypes are quite prevalent when you’re picking your neighbour. These findings of the latest YouGov-Mint-CPR Millennial Survey are a reminder of the contradictions that will define the next stage of India’s growth as the world’s most populous nation.

Nearly two-thirds of the respondents to the survey held in June ranked their immediate family in the top two groups of people they consider to be their “community". The respondents were given a list of five options to rank, the others being extended family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.

Also read: The population puzzle: what Indians feel

For 49%, immediate family was on top, while 17% put it on the second spot.

Women were particularly likely to rank immediate family on top, with 53% of them doing so, as compared to 45% men. The trend was strong in Tier 1 cities as well, where 53% respondents ranked immediate family on top. Residents of smaller cities were a lot less likely to do so (45%), and more of them favoured friends (23%) as their primary idea of community.

This was the 10th round of the survey that Mint has conducted twice a year since 2018 in association with survey partner YouGov India and Delhi-based think-tank Centre for Policy Research. These surveys aim to examine the aspirations, anxieties and attitudes of India’s digital natives. Around 42% of the respondents in the latest survey were post-millennials (born after 1996), and 41% were millennials (born between 1981 and 1996).

Also read: Over 40% urban Indians indifferent to 'most populous' tag

Overall, friends were the second-most important social group that urban Indians associate with the idea of community. Two in every five people gave it the highest rank, followed by 15%, who ranked extended family at the top. Friends featured in the top two for around 47% of respondents.

The bond of friendship was more prominent among men than women. Friends were more likely to be considered as a part of the community by men (22%) than women (18%). The significance of immediate family as one’s 'community' is the least among post-millennials (those born after 1996), 46% of whom picked it as their most favoured group. This generation was the largest group to choose friends as their primary community.

Also read: Marriage, kids not on top of mind for most urban Indians

Marital choices

How will our own families change over the next few decades? The biggest non-negotiable factor while approving a child’s choice of a partner is gender: 57% of the respondents said they wouldn’t compromise on their desire for an opposite-sex partner for their child. This underlines the prevailing challenge of the societal acceptance of same-sex marriages. The next biggest non-negotiable aspect is being free of physical or mental disabilities—50% respondents said so.

This is based on responses to a hypothetical situation that the survey presented about respondents’ children wanting to marry out of their choice.

Same-faith marriages ranked third on the list of non-negotiables, with 42% of the respondents saying it was absolutely needed that the person their child selects should be from the same religion. Muslims were the most likely to oppose interfaith marriages (53%) for their children, followed by Hindus (44%).

There was much greater acceptance and openness towards people from different states/regions, various castes, and different socio-economic groups. For around 30%, belonging to a different caste or different state/region wouldn’t matter at all.

Good fences

Urban spaces are also usually shaped by the diversity of social groups that inhabit them. When asked about the comfort level with people from different social groups as neighbours, the two groups that were viewed with the greatest scepticism were those belonging to the LGBTQ community and residents of Uttar Pradesh or Bihar. Around 22% of respondents expressed discomfort with having LGBTQ community members as their neighbours, while 17% felt similarly about residents of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. (Residents of those two states were not given the question.)

Both unmarried men and women were more likely to be comfortable with having unmarried women as neighbours than bachelors. The survey also indicated that respondents felt some level of discomfort with neighbours who had physical disabilities or belonged to different religious backgrounds.

Also read: Climate risk finds high awareness in urban India: Survey

On a positive note, respondents appeared to be the most at ease with having neighbours from different castes and residents of northeastern states. These groups received the highest approval ratings, with 69% and 67% respectively, indicating a higher degree of comfort with them as neighbours.

Neighbourly trust

Lastly, the survey found a high degree of trust in neighbours and community engagement. Nearly two-thirds of respondents demonstrated a strong willingness to entrust their neighbours with accepting mails and packages when they are away from home. Similarly, a similar share of people expressed their eagerness to participate actively in social groups within their community.

This is one of four parts in a data journalism series based on the YouGov-Mint-CPR survey held against the backdrop of India becoming the world’s most populous country. Read all the parts here and the summary piece here.

Note that 84% of our respondents were relatively well-to-do netizens, falling under the NCCS-A socio-economic category of consumers. (The NCCS, or New Consumer Classification System, is based on the consumer durables owned by a household and the education level of the main wage earner.) However, 45% of those who earn and revealed their income make less than 30,000 a month.

The questionnaires, raw data and methodology for all 10 rounds of the biannual survey can be found here.


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