Isolated by Caste: Neighbourhood-Scale Residential Segregation in Indian Metros

Naveen Bharathi , Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
Deepak Malghan, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
Andaleeb Rahman, Cornell University

We present the first ever neighbourhood-scale portrait of caste-based residential segregation in Indian cities. Residential segregation studies in Indian cities have relied on ward-level data. We demonstrate in this paper that wards cannot approximate an urban neighborhood, and that they are heterogeneous. For a typical ward, the neighbourhood-ward dissimilarity index is greater than the ward-city dissimilarity index. Using 2011 enumeration block (EB) level census data for five major cities in India – Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai – we show how patterns of caste-based urban residential segregation operate in contemporary India. We also present the first visual snapshot of caste-based residential segregation in an Indian city using geo-referenced EB level data for Bengaluru. Besides implications for policy, our analysis also points to the need for publicly available, geospatially-linked neighborhood-scale census data that includes data on economic class for a spatial understanding of economic and social stratification within Indian cities.

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 Presented in Session 7. Migration & Urbanization