Standard of living and standard of life are often misunderstood to be synonymous. However, that is not so. While standard of living denotes the necessaries, comforts and luxuries to the consumption of which an individual or a family is accustomed to, the term standard of life denotes the ideal that an individual or a family would aspire for. Thus the efforts of an individual or a family are directed towards the achievement of an ideal. The concept of standard of living is dynamic and its connotation changes from time to time.

It is a resultant of two forces, namely changes in the outlook of a family or an individual depending on their income and strides made in the field of science and similar other factors which change the complexion of human demand and character of propensity to consume. Thus there is every likelihood of an ideal for the distant future becoming an immediate fact in the near future and creating new concept for both the standard of life as also for the standard of living.

The concept of standard of Jiving is a relative one. A comparison between the present and the past based on an analysis of income, expenditure, price level, etc., covering a period of a few years and that also for certain selected normal years is essential to judge whether the people in the district are better off or worse off to-day than what they were in the past. However, such an analysis is not possible due to the difficulties encountered in obtaining the detailed statistical data required for the purpose.

The other way to fudge the standard of living of the people of the district is to assess the economic prosperity of the district measured in monetary terms. Though such an analysis is purely of a general nature, the rise or fall in the district income as against the price level reflects the commensurate rise or fall in the standard of living in the district, distribution of income being even and the rate of employment during the period of study being fairly steady. The method that is adopted for calculating the provincial or national income can be adopted to calculate the district income. But here again the same difficulty of obtaining correct and reliable statistical data prevents the use of this method. Statistics required for the computation of the district income would be more difficult to obtain than that is required to compute the provincial or the national income. That naturally restricts the scope of an analysis contemplated in this chapter. Thus the study of relative standard of living of the people in the district is not possible. Hence in what follows is given an analysis of the income and expenditure patterns of various representative families belonging to certain defined income groups. Though such a study may not be indicative of the change in the material prosperity of the people, it will definitely show the trends in the patterns of the standard of living and comparison as between the standards enjoyed by various strata of the community. The standard of living is a result of various factors such as the total income of a family, the total expenditure liability of a family and the prevailing price-structure. The family is taken as a unit for this purpose.

The following description of the patterns of income and expenditure in urban and rural areas of Dhulia district is based On tabulated and descriptive information collected through a sample survey in the district. No statistical accuracy is contemplated for the findings of the survey.

The method adopted for the survey was as follows. Certain rural and urban centres in the district were selected for the survey. The survey was conducted by adopting a family as a unit.

Taking average annual income of a family as a basis of classification, the families Mere grouped as under:-

Group I-Families with an annual income of Rs. 3,000 and over.

Group II-Families with an annual income ranging between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 3,000.

 Group III-Families with an annual income of Rs. 1,000 and below.

The survey covered almost all the aspects of income and expenditure pattern of a family such as the number of members, number of earners, income, expenditure, family possessions, indebtedness, literacy conditions, housing conditions, etc. For the sake of computation an adult [A person over 22 years of age is treated as adult for the purposes of cereal consumption.] or two minors were treated as equal to one unit.

The income from all sources of a family was considered, grouping it together for analytical purposes. Value and volume of debts as also the statistics regarding the savings of a family were collected at the time of the survey.

The monthly and annual expenditure was considered separately-The monthly expenditure included the expenditure incurred on grocery, rent, lighting, domestic services, entertainment, education, etc., while the annual expenditure contained the money spent on clothing, ornaments, medical relief, charity, travelling and social obligations, etc.

In Dhulia district the survey was conducted at the urban centres of Dhulia, Dondaiche, Nandurbar, Nawapur and Shirpur and at the rural centres of Bhadne, Dahivel, Kasare, Khandbara, Malpur, Ner, Nyahalod, Prakashe and Shirud. As the conditions in regard to the cost of living in urban and rural areas of the district do not differ much, the rural and urban areas of the district have been considered together for arriving at the conclusions of the survey. The differences between rural and urban areas, wherever they exist, are shown separately.