Socioeconomic Inequality in Nepal

By Niru Yadav

niruThis project uses data from the Nepal Living Standards Survey (NLSS)- III 2010-2011 which follows the methodology developed for the World Bank’ss Living Standards Measurement Surveys. The NLSS III is a nationally representative survey conducted by the Nepal Central Bureau of Statistics with the assistance of the World Bank between February 2010 and February 2011. A total of 5,988 households consisting of 28,670 individuals across 71 districts were surveyed.

For this exercise, the 103 different Ethnicity Codes are categorized into Four Broad Ethnic Groups as follows:


Brahman(hill), Chhetri, Thakuri, Sanyasi, Newar **41.5% in sample

Hill Social Group

Magar, Tamang, Kami, Rai, Gurung, Damai/Dholi, Limbu, Sarki, Sherpa, Gharti/Bhujel, Kumal, Sunuwar, Majhi, Danuwar, Chepang/praja, Thami, Bhote, Yakkha, Darai, Thakali, Chhantal, Brahmu/baramu, Gaine, Lepcha, Raji, Raute **30% in sample


Tharu, Yadav, Teli, Chamar/Harijan/Ram, Koiri, Kurmi, Sonar, Kewat, Dhanuk, Musahar, Dhusadh/Paswan/Pasi, Sonar, Kewat, Brahman(Terai), Baniya, Mallah, Kalway, Hajam/Thakur, Kanu, Rajbansi, Sudhi, Lohar, Tatma, Khatwe, Dhobi, Nuniya, Kumhar, Haluwai, Rajpur, Kayastha, Badhae, Marwadi, Santhal/Sattar, Dhagar/Jhagar, Bantar, Barae, Kahar, Gangai, Lodh, Rajbhar, Dhimal, Bing/Binda, Bhediyar/Gaderi, Tajpuriya, Mali, Bangali, Dom, Halkhor, Koche **23.6% in sample


Muslim-Terai, other dalit, other caste **4.9% in sample

This data visualization project relies on indicators such as schooling status of children, average education level in households, household size, wealth, use of energy sources and sanitation facilities to assess the socio-economic inequality that exists across major ethnic groups in Nepal. There is division within each of these ethnic groups along the lines of caste, class and gender as well. While these inequalities across sub-divisions within the major ethnic groups are important and requires attention, this exercise shows the presence of significant socioeconomic disparity across broad ethnic groups in the country.


1.1 Schooling Status by Ethnic Group

Note: School progression lag is defined as the difference between the ideal grade level based on the child’s age and the highest grade level the student attended or is attending, i.e. School progression lag = ideal grade based on age – actual grade level. A value of zero represents perfect progression or no-lag. Values of 1 indicates grade level lag by one year, 2 indicates grade level lag by two years and so on.

1.2. Maximum Years of Education Level in Household by Ethnic Groups


2.1 Average Size of Households by Ethnic Groups

2.2 Wealth by Ethnic Groups

Note: (i) The values for each indicator have been divided by household size to get per capita figures. (ii) Property is defined as the value of land and house.(iii)Livestock ownership is calculated based on the following weights used by Chilonda and Otte (2006): cattle accounts for 0.5 LU, buffalo 0.5 LU, pigs 0.2 LU, sheep and goats 0.1 LU, and poultry 0.01 LU and horses 0.65 LU.(iv) The dash line represents average value in the sample.


3. Water and Sanitation Facilities by Ethnic Group


4. Light and Fuel Source/Facilities by Ethnic Group


Chilonda, P. and J. Otte (2006), Indicators to monitor trends in livestock production at national, regional and international levels, Livestock Research for Rural Development, 18, Article #117.

Government of Nepal, Central Bureau of Statistics. (2011). Nepal Living Standard Survey (Conducted by Government of Nepal, Central Bureau of Statistics during 2010-11). Available at:


Niru Yadav

Niru Yadav is an Economist. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Indiana University-Bloomington.