Spatial Variation of Caste/Ethnic Poverty in Mountain Districts of Nepal: An Approximation through Small Area Estimation Technique
Nepal is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society where economic condition of various caste/ethnic groups substantially varies. However, adequate attention has not been paid to estimate the level of monetary poverty of various caste/ethnicities and assess how people of the same caste/ethnicity living in different locations (districts) vary in terms of monetary poverty. Focusing only on mountain belt, which is one of the economically poorest areas of the country, this study aims to estimate incidence of monetary poverty for major caste/ethnicities living in the mountain districts with the help of small area estimation (SAE) technique and assess spatial variation in the incidence of monetary poverty of the same caste/ethnic group living along the east-west continuum of the mountain districts. Required data for SAE is derived from Nepal Living Standard Survey (2010/11) and 2011 population census of Nepal. The study shows that, compared to other districts, three eastern mountain districts (Province 1) (Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha, and Solukhumbu) have lowest incidence of poverty for all the caste/ethnicities with much lower incidence in three socioeconomically advanced hill caste groups. Incidence of poverty tends to increase sharply along the east to west continuum of mountain districts with exceptionally high poverty rates for Dalits in the far western mountain districts (Province 7). Some culturally similar caste/ethnic groups follow almost similar pattern of increase in the incidence of poverty along the east-west continuum of the mountain districts and form districts of clusters in each region with similar level of poverty.
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