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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 234-235

Modified Kuppuswamy socio-economic status scale with 2016 as base year – An update for 2021

Department of Community and Family Medicine, AIIMS, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

Date of Submission21-Jun-2021
Date of Decision06-Aug-2021
Date of Acceptance22-Oct-2021
Date of Web Publication28-Dec-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Meenakshi Khapre
Department of Community and Family Medicine, AIIMS, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JME.JME_59_21

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Socio-economic status is the key parameter for understanding the affordability of the community of health services and their purchasing capacity. Kuppuswamy's socio-economic scale based on educational, occupational status of head of the family and overall aggregate income of the whole family measures the socio-economic status of urban areas. The scale changes with the updated values of consumer-price index and base year.

Keywords: Consumer-price index, Kuppuswamy, socio-economic scales

How to cite this article:
Anjali M, Khapre M, Asha T J, Rahul A. Modified Kuppuswamy socio-economic status scale with 2016 as base year – An update for 2021. J Med Evid 2021;2:234-5

How to cite this URL:
Anjali M, Khapre M, Asha T J, Rahul A. Modified Kuppuswamy socio-economic status scale with 2016 as base year – An update for 2021. J Med Evid [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 10];2:234-5. Available from: http://www.journaljme.org/text.asp?2021/2/3/234/333957

  Introduction Top

Socio-economic status (SES) is an important indicator to evaluate the health and nutritional status of a family. SES depends on a combination of variables such as education, occupation, income, place of residence and the wealth of the family.[1] It plays a major role in health-seeking behaviour, affordability, accessibility and overall utilisation of health services by the population.[2] The wealth index (also referred to as the standard of living index) is a socio-economic position indicator that is increasingly used in low- and middle-income settings. The wealth index is a composite index of ownership of consumer durables, access to services and dwelling characteristics, which is widely used for assessing the equity of interventions and policies and controlling for socio-economic confounding in analyses of epidemiological data.[3] Various scales are widely used in community surveys and studies to assess the SES of the family such as the Rahudkar scale, Udai Parikh scale, Kulshrestha scale, Kuppuswamy scale, Shrivastava scale, Bharadwaj scale and BG Prasad scales. Among these, two scales are very popular in India– the Kuppuswamy scale 1976 and the B G Prasad scale 1961.

Kuppuswamy SES scale was developed by Kuppuswamy in the year 1976 with education, occupation and total income as the parameters, which was modified in later years to include the educational, occupational status of the head of the family and overall aggregate income of the whole family, pooled from all sources.[4] Each of these three parameters is further divided into subgroups and scores have been allotted to each subgroup [Table 1]. Modified BG Prasad scale uses only per capita monthly income to calculate the socio-economic scale. BG Prasad scale is used both in rural and urban areas, applicable for families as well as individuals, whereas Kuppuswamy scale is used only in urban areas, applicable only to families, not individuals.
Table 1: Scoring for modified Kuppuswamy's socio-economic status scale, revised for 2021

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Both these scales use the consumer-price index for industrial workers (CPI-IW), which is updated frequently based on the recent changes in CPI and base year. The updates according to the base year involve a calculation based on the conversion factor.

The family income per month for 1976 was calculated according to the base year 1960 = 100 (price index for 1976: 296). The price indexes were updated for 1982 and in 2001 assuming them as the base year (100). Keeping the changing socio-economic circumstances in mind, income criteria are revised for All India CPI numbers for industrial workers on the base year 2016 = 100 (CPI-IW).

  • All India CPI for the year 2021 is 119.6 with the base year 2016.[5]
  • CPI of 2012 by 2001 base = 201
  • CPI of 2016 by 2001 base = 268
  • Price index for the year 2012 by new base (2016) = 201/268 * 100 = 75
  • Conversion factor for march 2021 = CPI for 2021 by 2016 base/Price index 2012 by 2016 base = 119.6/75 = 1.6
  • Multiplying the income scale of 2012 by 1.6 give updated figure of 2021.[6] [Table 1].

The total score ranges from 3 to 29, which is further classified into 'upper, upper-middle, lower-middle, upper lower and lower socio-economic classes' [Table 2].
Table 2: Kuppuswamy's classification of socio-economic classes according to score

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There are several limitations for the scale. Identification of the head of the family is difficult subjected to inter-assessor variation.[1] Although incomes reflect the purchasing capacity of a family, it is usually under- or over-reported for many reasons making it inconsistent and unreliable.[7] It is very difficult to measure family income when salaries vary from month to month among daily-wage labourers. The income of the family is independent of the size of the family. Because of this a large joint family with higher income due to the large number of earning members may get a higher score as compared to a nuclear family with one or two earning members.[1] Furthermore, the scale does not reflect the standard of living or other human development indicators such as sanitation and health.[8] Moreover, the scale needs regular updates based on the trends of CPI and base year.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Shaikh Z, Pathak R. Revised Kuppuswamy and BG Prasad socio-economic scales for 2016. Int J Community Med Public Health 2017;4:997-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
Saleem SM. Modified Kuppuswamy socioeconomic scale updated for the year 2020. Indian J Forensic Community Med 2020;7:1-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
Howe LD, Hargreaves JR, Ploubidis GB, De Stavola BL, Huttly SR. Subjective measures of socio-economic position and the wealth index: A comparative analysis. Health Policy Plan 2011;26:223-32.  Back to cited text no. 3
Bairwa M, Rajput M, Sachdeva S. Modified Kuppuswamy's socioeconomic scale: Social researcher should include updated income criteria, 2012. Indian J Community Med 2013;38:185.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Labour Bureau; Ministry of Labour; Government of India. Linking factors between new series and old Series. Available from: http://labourbureau.nic.in/indexes.htm. [Last accessed on 2021 Jun 15].  Back to cited text no. 5
Kuppuswamy SES Scale for 2020 Online Tool. Available from: https://scaleupdate.weebly.com/. [Last accessed on 2021 Jun 15].  Back to cited text no. 6
Kattula D, Venugopal S, Velusamy V, Sarkar R, Jiang V, Henry A, et al. Measuring poverty in Southern India: A comparison of socio-economic scales evaluated against childhood stunting. PLoS One 2016;11:e0160706.  Back to cited text no. 7
Ramesh Masthi NR, Gangaboraiah B,Kulkarni P. An exploratory study on socio economic status scales in a rural and urban setting. J Family Med Prim Care 2013;2:69-73.  Back to cited text no. 8


  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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