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Last week, we discussed the E6 urban consumer segment—the second largest segment, comprising households where the chief wage earner is school-educated, a businessman or skilled worker, and married with children over 12 years of age.
This week, we move on to another large segment, E7, which includes households whose chief wage earners are in their older years and whose children are married. It is the fifth largest in household numbers, the large household size making it the third largest by population—10% of the total urban population. However, in comparison with the previous six segments, where the chief wage earners were just school-educated, E7 includes graduates and even some with postgraduate degrees. The occupational profile includes businessmen and skilled workers. What brings these diverse educational and occupational profiles together, the defining characteristic of this segment, is that E7 households are large—68% have more than five members, the largest share among all the urban consumer segments.
These are India’s urban joint families of today, an updated version of the family immortalized in the Doordarshan serial Hum Log. The chief wage earners, the patriarchs, are in their older years—74% are over 55 years of age. They are also not that well educated—just 11% have degrees, graduate and above. However, the educational level of all adults in the household is relatively higher as the younger generation has moved beyond schooling. Nearly half the households have more than two earning members, making this the richest among the E segments. The younger members, though earning, are on the first rungs of their career and jobs, contributing less to the family kitty than the fathers. With a median annual household income of Rs2.61 lakh, this segment also has a large proportion of relatively rich households—around 13% earn at least Rs10 lakh a year. E7 spends the highest share among all E segments on conveyance—22% of the budget goes into transport expenses—an outcome of more members of the household travelling to work.
The top urban districts with more than 50,000 people in this segment are Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Thane, Chennai, Pune, North 24 Parganas and Kolkata. These are, of course, the largest urban centres in India, and the E7 segment represents those households that are well settled in the city and the children have grown up with higher educational qualifications and aspirations than their parents.
By this stage in life, nearly all the households own the homes they live in. Less than a quarter are yet to achieve homeowner status and these would include not just the poorest households, but also those who have been staying in rented accommodation for many years, enjoying low rent thanks to laws favouring tenants, in old buildings that dot the centres of these cities.
The chief wage earners are predominantly self-employed, though 40% do have regular salaried jobs. The top four sectors of employment are wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, public administration, and transport and communication. The spouses are largely homemakers, though 9% are employed out of the home. But again, like their spouses, the matriarchs in the homes are not that well-educated—just 4% have degrees or diplomas beyond school. Yet, the younger female members of these households would be better educated than the older women—an urban trend that will take a while to penetrate through to rural areas where access to and availability of higher education are significant constraints.