The livelihood pattern of the population of the district throws a searching light on the economic life of the district. The trend in the livelihood pattern as reflected in the censuses of 1951 and 1961 is analysed in the following paragraphs. [The livelihood pattern as per 1971 census is given in Appendix III to this volume.]

In the Census of 1951 the district population was divided into two broad categories, viz., agricultural and non-agricultural. Each of the two categories was divided into four occupational classes. The distribution of population in the district according to the various occupational classes in 1951 is given below. [Census Handbook, Dhulia District, 1951.]

Livelihood class


Agricultural Classes


1. Owner Cultivators


2. Tenant Cultivators


3. Agricultural Labourers


4. Non-cultivating Owners of Land


Non-agricultural Classes


5. Production (other than agriculture)


6. Commerce


7. Transport


8. Miscellaneous services


Total-District Population


Each of the occupational classes was sub-divided into occupational groups and sub-groups. All the classes and sub-classes were further divided with reference to economic status into:-

(i) self-supporting persons,

(ii) earning dependents,

(iii) non-earning dependents.

The concept of dependency has, however, been abandoned, or economic classification, at the 1961 Census. Instead the population is classified into workers and non-workers. The emphasis is on work and not on income or economic dependence. This makes difficult the comparison of the various livelihood classes as in 1951 and 1961.

As per 1961 Census, population is divided into nine categories of economic activities. The following statement gives the livelihood pattern of population on the basis of workers and non-workers, as per 1961 Census: -

Livelihood Class


Percentage of working population.

Total Working Population



(i) Cultivators*



(ii) Agricultural Labourers



(iii) Mining, quarrying, Live-stock, Forestry, etc.



(iv) Household industry



(v) Manufacturing



(vi) Construction



(vii) Trade and Commerce



(vii) Transport, Communications and storage.



(ix) Other services**



Non-working population



Total-District population...



*Include owner cultivators as well as tenant cultivators.

** Include-

(i) Public utility services like electricity, water supply, sanitary services, etc.

(ii) Central and State Government employees, and municipal employees.

(iii) Professional Services,

(iv) Trade or labour associations, recreation services, etc.

The percentage of cultivators to total working population in the district is only slightly less than that for Maharashtra State. Though the proportion of female workers as cultivators is very much lower, their proportion among agricultural labourers is higher than that for the State. This is attributable to the fact that many women from landholding households in the district do not participate in agricultural work whereas women from landless households participate in field work much more than the corresponding average for the State. The percentage of agricultural labourers is very high in this district. Being industrially underdeveloped, employment in manufacturing industries is much less in this district than in the State.

In spite of the changes in the methods of occupational classification, the pattern of employment in 1961 may broadly be compared with the livelihood pattern in 1951.

In 1951, cultivators and agricultural labourers (including earning dependents) formed 56.32 per cent and 24.24 per cent of the total working population [Total working population in various occupational classes in 1951 has been worked out by adding up  the self -supporting persons and earning dependants. ] respectively. The corresponding percentages are returned to be 46-06 and 36.46 in 1961. The combined proportion of the two categories has increased from 80.56 per cent in 1951 to 82.52 per cent in 1961. The percentage of cultivators has decreased in 1961, whereas the percentage of agricultural labourers has increased substantially. This may, however, be due more to the 1961 changes in the definition of principal workers as a result of which many more persons from those engaged both in cultivation and agricultural labourers have returned their work in the latter category than those in 1951'.

In 1951, agricultural classes accounted for 81.05 per cent of the total working population [Total working population in various occupational classes in 1951 has been worked out by adding up  the self -supporting persons and earning dependants. ] (viz., Self-supporting persons and earning dependents), whereas the percentage for 1961 is worked out at 82.52. The 1951 census enumerated that the non-agricultural classes formed together 18.95 per cent of the working population. The corresponding percentage for 1961 is 17.48. About 6.38 per cent of the working population was engaged in ' Production other than agriculture ' in 1951. The corresponding group of occupations comprising house-hold industry ', ' manufacturing', and ' mining, forestry, live-stock, fishing, hunting, plantation, etc' is enumerated to have engaged 7.79 per cent of the total number of workers in 1961. The percentages in these three occupational classes are returned to be 3.53, 2. 43 and 1. 33, respectively. Trade and commerce engaged 3.38 per cent and 3.12 per cent in 1951 and 1961, respectively. The occupational class of transport and communications absorbed 0.52 per cent and 0.94 per cent of the total workers in 1951 and 1961, respectively. The percentage of working population grouped under ' other services' declined from 8.67 in 1951 to 5.46 in 1961. One of the principal reasons for this decline might be the change in definition of principal workers.