Recently released census data show the share of nuclear households
areas has declined to 52.3 per cent in 2011, from 54.3 per cent in 2001. Some have construed this as a sign that nuclear households, a dominant theme of urbanization in India, are possibly on the decline.
But a closer look at the data suggest that it may be a bit premature to draw such conclusions.
While the share of nuclear households
in total urban households
has declined, in absolute terms households
in this category have risen from 30.2 million in 2001 to 42.1 million in 2011 – implying a growth rate of 3.4 per cent per annum over the 10-year period.
This implies that the decline in its share in overall urban households
is a consequence of the faster growth of other household categories.
Census data show that two categories namely - supplemented nuclear households
and broken extended households
- have grown at a much faster pace than the growth of urban households
over the past decade.
Supplemented nuclear households
which include nuclear family members plus other relations without spouses have grown by 4.9 per cent per annum, reaching 12.98 million households
in 2011 up from 8 million households
a decade ago.
Similarly, broken extended households, which consist of houses without a spouse but with other relations, have grown by 13.7 per cent per annum reaching 3.72 million households
from 1 million households
a decade ago.
Thus, faster growth of these two particular categories of households
need to be probed for understanding the changing dynamics of households