In 2000, A.I. Mahbub Uddin Ahmed, Professor of Sociology at the University of Dhaka, undertook a study of lack of perceived necessities in Bangladesh. The data for the study came from a sample survey of 1,914 respondents, comprising 1,207 males and 707 females from all over Bangladesh. The study was designed to be in urban areas and only 78 of the sample were from outside the main cities of Barisal (10.4 per cent of sample), Dhaka (52.2 per cent), Chittagong (15.7 per cent), Khulna (7.8 per cent), Rajshahi (10.4 per cent) and Sylhet (3.3 per cent).
A list of 69 deprivation indicators indicative of the style of living of the Bangladeshi population was made covering diet, clothing, fuel and light, home amenities, housing and housing facilities and childcare. Respondents were asked to indicate which of the items they considered important, without which they would feel socially deprived and poor. The survey found that 17 items out of the 69 items tested were considered by more than 50 per cent of respondents as necessities, their absence being seen as constituting poverty. The table below shows the full list of items considered by respondents to be necessities, without which one is perceived to be poor. The 52 items that were not seen as necessities included items such as wrist watch, wardrobe, ornaments, bicycle and toys for children, refrigerator, cigarettes, music lesson, telephone, cable TV and computer.
Source: A.I. Mahbub Uddin Ahmed (2007) Consensual poverty in Britain, Sweden and Bangladesh: a comparative study (pdf).
Mahbub Uddin Ahmed comments in the paper:
Such a perception is culturally derived as the social norm of particular time and space determines the notion of deprivation. A decade ago, it was impossible to think that the absence of a cable TV or mobile phone would constitute an agenda for poverty definition of Bangladesh. Even now, it may appear shocking to many. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that a status item like celebration of religious festivals is ranked fifth in the deprivation index. The Table clearly demonstrates the change that has taken place in the standard of Bangladesh urban life.
For full details see:
‘Consensual poverty in Britain, Sweden and Bangladesh: a comparative study’ (pdf), A.I. Mahbub Uddin Ahmed, Bangladesh e-Journal of Sociology, vol. 4, no. 2., 2007
In this paper A.I. Mahbub Uddin Ahmed, Professor of Sociology at the University of Dhaka, compares the findings of his research in Bangladesh with earlier work on poverty in Britain and Sweden using the consensual method.