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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cross-Cultural Socio-Economic Status Attainment between Muslim and Santal Couple in Rural Bangladesh

Md. Emaj Uddin
Abstract—This study compared socio-economic status
attainment between the Muslim and Santal couples in rural
Bangladesh. For this we hypothesized that socio-economic status
attainment (occupation, education and income) of the Muslim
couples was higher than the Santal ones in rural Bangladesh. In order
to examine the hypothesis 288 couples (145 couples for Muslim and
143 couples for Santal) selected by cluster random sampling from
Kalna village, Bangladesh were individually interviewed with semistructured
questionnaire method. The results of Pearson Chi-Squire
test suggest that there were significant differences in socio-economic
status attainment between the two communities’ couples. In addition,
Pearson correlation coefficients also suggest that there were
significant associations between the socio-economic statuses attained
by the two communities’ couples in rural Bangladesh. Further crosscultural
study should conduct on how inter-community relations in
rural social structure of Bangladesh influence the differences among
the couples’ socio-economic status attainment.
Keywords—Bangladesh, Couple, Cross-Cultural Comparison,
Muslim, Socio-Economic Status Attainment, Santal.
I. INTRODUCTION
OCIO-ECONOMIC status attainment around the world is
the achievement aspect of human behavior across the
social systems. An individual with his or her personal socioeconomic
status attainment not only occupies certain status in
the family, group, community or wider society but also
acquires certain prestige through which s/he meets his or her
day-to-day human needs and solves personal physical, mental
and social problems faced in a particular environment [1-30].
Eshleman and Cashion [31] and others defined socioeconomic
status as an assessment of person’s education,
occupation and income position within a particular social
system. Likewise socio-economic status attainment refers to
the achievement of persons’ relative position of education,
occupation and income within that particular social system [1-
30]. This paper focuses on cross-cultural comparison of socioeconomic
status attainments and its interrelationships between
Muslim and Santal couples in rural Bangladesh.

The socio-economic status persons singly or collectively
attain is socio-culturally constructed and modified in every
society. Social scientists separately suggest three approaches
to study socio-economic status attainment: Prestige approach
by National Opinion Research Center, functionalist approach
by Duncan and others, and class approach by Marx and
Weber, including its categorical and numerical variables.
These approaches generally assume that socio-economic
status attainment may vary across the class, caste, sex,
religion, race, region etc. due to inequality in property, power
and opportunity distribution in the hierarchical social structure
in every society.
Based on the assumption relevant cross-cultural
comparative studies conducted across the cultures reveal that
socio-economic status attainment widely varies: people in the
dominant market economy compared to the non-dominant
ones achieve high status [3, 6, 9, 13, 19, 21, 25]. These studies
argue that without high status achievement people in the
highly modernized market economy cannot fulfill their human
problems faced in that environment. Other comparative
studies reveal that this socio-economic status achievement
also varies among the different classes, castes, religions, races,
regions within a given culture, because dominant class or
cultural group always dominates, deprives and exploit nondominant
classes or cultural groups within a society [1, 10, 11,
15, 24]. Regarding this several researches investigated in
multicultural societies indicate that every parental socioeconomic
status attainment of the cultural groups is
transformed into the next generation. As socio-economic
status attainment of minority parents or non-dominant groups
(Black, Hispanic, Asian and African born) compared to the
majority or dominant ones (White) is low, so their children’s
socio-economic status attainment is also low [26, 30]. In
addition, it is widely reported that males’ socio-economic
status attainment compared to the females within the family
and other formal organizations also varies in different
cultures: socio-economic status attainment of males is higher
than the females. These socio-economic status attainments:
education, occupation and income are cyclical process in
which low educational attainment by someone influences his
or her low prestige job involvement that in turn influences low
income rate in the particular social system [3, 28].
Several culture-specific [36, 37, 39-42] and even crosscultural
studies [38, 43-45] conducted across the sub-cultures

in Bangladesh report that socio-economic status attainment of
the dominant group (Muslim) is higher than the minority
group (Santal) in rural Bangladesh. These studies clearly
argue that most of the minority groups are the poorest of the
poor; they have no land property and even settlement land;
they, irrespective of male and female, are busy to collect their
daily necessity as day laborers. As a result, many of them
never go to school for their formal learning and never access
to formal labor force participation because of formal learning
and their annual family income is very low than the other
community groups, such as the Muslim and the Hindu [43-
45]. Our research questions on the problem situation: Are the
Muslim couples’ socio-economic status attainments higher
than the Santal couples in rural Bangladesh economy? Are
there significant differences in socio-economic status attained
by the communities’ couples? Are there significant
associations between the socio-economic status attainments:
education, occupation and annual family income in rural
Bangladesh?
Relevant comparative literatures reviewed suggest that
socio-eco-economic status attainment not only significantly
varies from one culture to another but it also varies among
sub-cultures within given the culture. Although these
comparative studies conducted in high and moderate market
economy contribute to socio-economic status attainment, there
is a paucity of comprehensive cross-cultural information on
the couples’ socio-economic status attainment and its
relationships in agriculture-based economy like Bangladesh.
Therefore, the first aim of this study was to examine and
compare socio-economic status attainment by Muslim and
Santal couples and second aim was to explore how the socioeconomic
status attainments: education, occupation and
income of the communities’ couples were inter-related to each
other in rural Bangladesh economy. These findings of the
study explored may contribute to social and behavioral
sciences.
II. BACKGROUND AND METHODOLOGY
A. Background
Community is a group of people who not only share the
same believe system but also acquire more or less the status in
a particular environment. This community status may vary
from other community. The Muslim in this country is the
dominant group, while the Santal are the non-dominant group.
Religiously, the former believe in Monotheism, but the later
believe in animism (Bongas). The former speak in Bengali
language with the mixture of Arabic-Urdu preference. On the
other hand the later speak in Austric-Mundary, and sometimes
speak in Bengali version with the other Bengali-speaking
people [38, 43-45]. Based on their respective fundamental
believe system both the communities interact with agriculture
economy for their livelihood. Although about 75% of the rural
people live in subsistent economy in which most of them are
poor, minority groups such as the Santal are the poorest of the
poor. One report indicates that 53% of the rural peoples are

poor and there are 55 million food insecure households and
62% adults are illiterate [32]. It is more interesting that
although main occupation of the rural villagers is agriculture,
man-land ratio is very low and many of them are landless or
near the landless due to law of inheritance, land fragmentation
and over-population. Some reports indicate that about 62% of
the rural households are functionally landless [32, 33-42]. In
the socio-economic situations socio-economic status attained
by the Muslim and Santal couples is embedded in rural
Bangladesh.
a. Educational Status Attainment
Educational attainment is a basic criterion not only to
acquire social status in the family as well as in the wider
community but also the first one to access in formal labor
force participation in any society. Educational attainment here
refers to year of formal education/ learning recognized by a
given society [11, 46]. Relevant cross-cultural researches
report that timing of formal education in a particular education
system not only varies from one person to another (such as
sibling education difference) within a system but also varies
between sub-cultures within given society influenced by the
parental educational background, aspiration, educator’s
personal motivation and cognition in education achievement
and pattern of job involvement for livelihood [1-14, 16-18, 20,
21, 23-30, 47, 48, 51]. Although education across the levels in
Bangladesh is universal, most of the rural people are not
motivated for education, because of traditional agricultural
economic system in which they almost informally learn how
to cultivate land and plant on it. Relevant culture-specific and
cross-cultural studies reveal that educational attainment of
lower class couples compared to the middle and high class
ones is very low: They have no formal education. In crosscultural
studies Uddin [38, 43-45] and others [52-54] found
that average years of Muslim couples’ education was higher
than the Santal couples, because of their high dominance in
rural power structure and parental aspiration in education.
Hypothesis 1: Educational status attainment of Muslim
couples is higher than the Santal couples in rural Bangladesh.
b. Occupational Status Attainment
Occupational attainment of individual person in an
economic system fully depends on his or her educational
attainment. Regarding this relevant researches [1-30, 46, 51]
reveal that formal education and skill training in any culture
are essential involving in formal labor force participation. But
what type of job a person will adopt depends on his or her
level of education achieved. As most of the rural Bangladeshi
are illiterate, so they adopt several occupations related to
agricultural system. As many of them are landless farmers, so
they work as day laborers. Regarding this Uddin [38, 43-45]
and other [52, 53, 55-58] found that both Santal adult men and
women take part in agriculture and any other fields as manual
labor and work outside the family from dawn to dusk as
laborers, because of their low education, landlessness and
mass poverty. On the other hand, division of labor between

adult men and women in Muslim community is strictly
maintained according to sex norms: Only Muslim adult men
are the breadwinner of the family. So they work in agricultural
field and other economic sectors. But Muslim women do not
work on the agricultural field. They are mainly housewives.
Hypothesis 2: Occupational status attainment of the
Muslim couples is higher than the Santal couples in rural
Bangladesh economy.
c. Annual Family Income Attainment
Income of couples depends on their aggregate educational
and occupational attainment. Relevant researches reveal that
the higher the educational and occupational status the higher
the income attainment. Several cross-cultural studies in
multicultural societies reveal that annual or monthly family
income of dominant group is two-fold higher the minority
ones because of their high educational and occupational
attainment [1, 10, 11, 15, 24]. Like wise Uddin [38-45] in his
cross-cultural studies found that annual income of the Muslim
families was higher than the minority families, especially the
Santal and Oraon families in rural Bangladesh, because the
former had more land property, business and other source of
income compared to the later ones.
Hypothesis 3: Annual family income of Muslim couples is
higher than that among the Santal couples in rural
Bangladesh economy.
d. Relationship in Socio-Economic Status Attainment
Cross-cultural studies explore that variable of socioeconomic
status attainment especially education occupation
and income are consistently inter-related. That is high
educational attainment by respective member of social system
influences high job involvement that in turn influences high
income [1-30]. Based on relevant literatures review this study
mentioned that educational and occupational status
attainments of the Muslim couples were higher than the Santal
couples in rural area of Bangladesh [43-45]. So, the annual
family income of former cases was higher than that among the
later cases. Uddin [44, 45] in his cross-cultural studies
explored that like higher educational and occupational
attainment average annual income of the Muslim families was
two-fold higher than the Santal families studied. Therefore,
higher educational and occupational attainments of the
Muslim couples compared to its counter ones linearly
influence more family income.
Hypothesis 4: there are positive linear relationships
between educational, occupational and annual family income
attainment by the Muslim and Santal couples in the study area
of Bangladesh.
B. Methodology
a. Samples
Based on the several specific hypotheses derived from the
relevant literatures review mentioned in above section this
study cross-culturally investigated socio-economic status
attainment between Muslim and Santal couples in rural
Bangladesh. In so doing the village Kalna, situated in Tanore
Upazila of Rajshahi district, Bangladesh was purposefully
selected for this study, where two distinct cultural
communities: Muslim and Santal were living side by side as a
neighbor. In this village, there were about 380 eligible couples
(families): 200 couples were Muslim's and the rest of them
were Santal's. In order to collect data from the couples, two
separate sampling units were developed: one for Muslim and
another for Santal. Each sampling unit was considered as a
cluster and each individual person of both the cluster couples
was accounted for as a study unit and then 288 couples, 145
couples (72.5%) from the Muslim and 143 couples (79.44%)
from the Santal, were randomly selected through cluster
sampling. The mean age of the selected samples, who actively
participated in this study, was 23.05 for husbands and 15.11
for wives for the Muslim and 20.71 for husbands and 14.34
for wives for the Santal respectively. The samples selected by
this sampling procedure were cross-culturally equivalent for
cross-cultural comparison of socio-economic status attainment
between the communities in rural Bangladesh.
b. Variables and Measures
The main comparison areas of this study were to examine
and measure the Muslim and Santal community couples’
socio-economic status attainments and its interrelationships in
rural Bangladesh context. In so doing socio-economic status
attainment was categorized into education, occupation and
income that were converted into the nominal, ordinal and
interval variables [18]. First of all Community was nominally
measured and coded as 1= Muslim, and 2= Santal; Couple
was nominally categorized into Husband=1 and Wife=2; Age
of both husband and wife was numerically counted in year.
However, selected couples’ socio-economic status attainment
characteristics were measured and coded in the following
ways:
1. Education status attainment was numerically measured
in years and then it was categorized into 1= Illiterate (0 year
of education), 2= Primary (1-5 years of education) and 3=
Secondary (6 and above years of education).
2. Occupation status attainment of both husband and wife
was nominally measured. For example, husband's occupation
(1= Farming only, 2= Farming + Business, 3= Farming +
Employment, 4= day laboring, wife's occupation (1=
Housewife only, 2= Housewife and Employee, 3= Housewife
+ Day Laboring.
3. Yearly total income attainment was numerically
measured in Taka (1 US$ = 68 Bangladesh Taka in currency
exchange) and then it was categorized into 1= Low Income
Couple (>20,000), 2= Middle Income Couple (21000-30,000)
and 3= High Income Couple (31,000+).
c. Instrument and Procedure
This study used cross-cultural descriptive survey design in
which quantitative variables (education and income) of the
socio-economic status attainment were categorized into
several classes to make equivalence with the occupational
attainment, as it was categorical in nature. Based on the
measure semi-structural questionnaire with open-ended and
close-ended questions on the variables of the socio-economic
status attainment was designed, following from several
comparative studies [1-30], especially Uddin’s [38, 43-45]
cross-cultural instruments. As most of the respondents were
low socio-cultural statuses, interview technique with the
questionnaire was applied for data collection. According to
the questionnaire author as a data collector was individually
asked for relevant answers to every couple of the community.
Sometimes the questions were proved to the specific
respondents who could not understand.
Field work for this research was conducted from January
to June 2007. In order to collect real and valid data from the
selected couples of the communities with the questionnaire the
author built up rapport with the respondents to create
consciousness about the research purposes and objectives, to
make easy them for conversation and to encourage them to
active participation in the research. It continued until the
completion of data collection. First 4 months of the data
collection period were used to build up rapport with the
respondents and 2 months were worked for data collection.
Most of the respondents of the communities, especially the
husbands in the Muslim community and both the husband and
wife in the Santal community worked from morning to
midday and even round the day in agricultural field. So, the
necessary data were collected at afternoon when the
respondents of both the communities were leisured, and each
individual person of the couple was met within the family
setting where they were intensively interviewed for one hour.
After completion the interview especial thanks were given to
each husband and wife for further contact. In so doing the
author conversed in Bengali language with the respondents
because they all did converse in Bengali language and then the
responses of the selected respondents were converted in
English by author, because he was skillful in both languages:
Bengali as a mother tongue and English as a second language
[43-45].
d. Reliability
The responses given by the selected respondents on the
qualitative variables of socio-economic status attainment were
reliable in the sense that the interview technique with the
semi-structural questionnaire was applied in which both the
open-ended and close -ended questions were included and the
author as an interviewer was skillful in that technique.1 In so
1 Because he involved in several research projects for field work. 120
working-days fieldwork (internship) experience at "Family Planning
Association of Bangladesh (FPAB)" Rajshahi City, Rajshahi; and "Rural
Social Services Program", Mohan Pur, Rajshahi, as a part of B.S.S. (Honors)
and M.S.S. curricula respectively.
In both B.S.S. and M.S.S. field practice, I engaged in counseling and
motivating persons in adopting program goals. During my field practicum, I
learned the skills of applying social work methods. I conducted survey,
formed and organized group, motivated the group members, and accelerate
social actions for the wellbeing of target groups and underprivileged
population.
doing the author built up rapport with the respondents in
which interpersonal trust between the interviewer (author) and
the respondents was developed. Based on the interpersonal
relationship (subjectivity) the author intensively interviewed
every husband and wife of the couples with the questionnaire
schedule aimed to collect objective data within one hour in
their personal and familial settings [59-61]. In addition, the
author also considered cultural and status factors of both the
parties (interviewer and respondents) when he interacted with
the respondents for data collection. However, although there
were many quantitative methods to test reliability of the
collected data, this research followed qualitative techniques:
rapport building with the respondents, one hour structural
interview for per husband and wife of the couple, interview in
personal and familial settings, and controlled interpersonal
cultural factors to collect reliable responses presented in the
result section.
e. Data Analysis
Based on the main research objective, including the four
hypotheses the analysis of collected data was carried out by
SPSS. Especially both Pearson’s Chi-Squire test and Intercorrelation
techniques were applied to find out similarities or
differences and associations in the socio-economic status
attainment: education, occupation and annual family income
distributions between Muslim and Santal couples in the study
village Kalna, Bangladesh. These statistical techniques to find
out cross-cultural differences and interrelationships for the
socio-economic status attainment variables included were
more relevant, because most of the variables used were
numerical (quantitative) in nature [43-45]. The findings of the
analysis with frequency distribution and test scores were
presented by cross-tabulation.
ІII. RESULTS
Differences in Socio-Economic Status Attainment
In order to compare socio-economic status attainment by
Muslim and Santal couples in rural Bangladesh, education,
occupation and income in the study were measured and
compared. In addition, this study also analyzed how education
and occupation of the Muslim and Santal couples influence
their annual family income in the study area of Bangladesh.
The findings of the analysis are given in the tables, 1-6.
A. Educational Status Attainment
Table 1 and 2 presents data on educational attainment by
Muslim and Santal couples studied. The overall data clearly
show that educational status attainment of Muslim couples
was higher than the Santal couples. Most of the Santal
I was also a data collector in the "Child Survival Project" of UNICEF at
Rajshahi office at two phases, on 1 July – 30 August 1993, 1 January – 30
March 2005. In addition, he himself collected data for his Ph. D. research
entitled “Family Structure in a Village of Bangladesh: A Cross-Cultural
Study. He also involved in periodical researches for doing field work.

husbands (68.53%) compared to the Muslim ones (29.66%)
never went to school. Educational attainment of Muslim
husbands at both primary (43.45% for Muslim, 22.38% for
Santal) and secondary levels or so (26.89% for Muslim,
9.09% for Santal) was higher than the Santal husbands. Like
husbands’ educational status attainment most of the Santal
wives (72%) compared to the Muslim wives (40.69%) had no
formal education. In addition, Santal wives’ educational
attainment at both levels (44.83% and 14.48% for Muslim and
24.48% and 5 cases for Santal respectively) was also lower
than the Muslim ones (See Table 2). The findings presented in
the tables suggest that the husbands’ educational attainment
compared the wives in both the communities across the
educational levels was higher in the study village, Kalna.
However, based on Pearson’s Chi-Squire test these frequency
distributions for both husband and wife’s educational
attainment were significantly different between the
communities at p<0.01 level.
TABLE I
RESULTS OF PEARSON’S CHI-SQUIRE TEST ON HUSBAND
EDUCATION ATTAINMENT BY MUSLIM (N=145) AND SANTAL
(N=143), VILLAGE KALNA, BANGLADESH, 2007
Husband’s Muslim Santal
Education
attainment
Frequency Frequency
Total X2
Illiterate 43 98 141
Primary 63 32 97
Secondary+ 39 13 52
Total 145 143 288
82.65*
(.000)
Note: df= 11, * p<0.01
TABLE II
RESULTS OF PEARSON’S CHI-SQUIRE TEST ON WIFE’S EDUCATION
ATTAINMENT BY MUSLIM (N=145) AND SANTAL (N=143), VILLAGE
KALNA, BANGLADESH, 2007
Wife’s Muslim Santal
Education
Attainment
Frequency Frequency
Total X2
Illiterate 59 103 141
Primary 65 35 97
Secondary+ 21 5 52
Total 145 143 288
72.29*
(.000)
Note: df= 11, * p<0.01
B. Occupational Status Attainment
Table 3 and 4 presents data on occupational attainment by
the Muslim and Santal couples in the agriculture-based
economy of Bangladesh. Occupational distribution by the
couples shows that although main occupation of this country
is agriculture, most of the Muslim husbands (62.07%)
compared to the Santal ones (5.59%) were farmers. That is
most of the Santal husbands (83.92%) were day laborers
because of landlessness or severe poor. Least of them adopted
other occupations, such as employment or business for
livelihood. Like husbands’ occupational attainment most of
the Santal wives (90.21%) adopted day laboring, including
house wife role because of the same cause, while the Muslim
wives (91.72%) were only housewives due to high gender role
segregation. The results of Pearson’s Chi-Squire test on
educational attainment by the communities’ couples were also
significantly different at p<0.01.
TABLE III
RESULTS OF PEARSON’S CHI-SQUIRE TEST ON HUSBAND’S
OCCUPATION ATTAINMENT BY MUSLIM (N=145) AND SANTAL
(N=143), VILLAGE KALNA, BANGLADESH, 2007
Husband’s Occupation Muslim Santal
Attainment F F
Total X2
Farming 90 8 98
Farming+ Business 28 10 38
Farming+ Employee 9 5 14
Day Laboring 18 120 138
Total 145 143 288
195.05
*
(.000)
Note: F= Frequency, df= 4, * p<0.01
TABLE IV
RESULTS OF PEARSON’S CHI-SQUIRE TEST ON WIFE’S
OCCUPATION ATTAINMENT BY MUSLIM (N=145) AND SANTAL
(N=143), VILLAGE KALNA, BANGLADESH, 2007
Wife’s Occupation Muslim Santal
Attainment F F
Total X2
Housewife only 133 8 141
Housewife+ Employee 7 6 13
Housewife+ Laboring 5 129 134
Total 145 143 288
249.86
*
(.000)
Note: F= Frequency, df= 2, * p<0.01
C. Annual Family Income Attainment
Table 5 shows data on annual family income by the
Muslim and Santal couples. Data presented in the table clearly
suggest that annual family income of the Muslim couples were
relatively higher than the Santal couples. Regarding this data
by category-wise distributions suggest that low income
couples (>20,000 Tk. yearly) in the Santal community were
80.42% compared to the Muslim couples (33.10%). But high
income (31,000+) and middle income (21,000-30,000 Tk.)
among the Muslim couples (40% for high and 26.90% for
middle income respectively) were higher than that among the
Santal couples (6 cases for high and 15.38% for middle
income respectively). In this respect results of Pearson’s Chi-
Squire test suggest that there were significant differences in
annual family income earned by the Muslim and Santal
couples at p<0.01 level.
TABLE V
RESULTS OF PEARSON’S CHI-SQUIRE TEST ON YEARLY FAMILY
INCOME ATTAINMENT BY MUSLIM (N=145) AND SANTAL (N=143),
VILLAGE KALNA, BANGLADESH, 2007
Range of Muslim Santal
Income
Attainment
in Taka
Frequency Frequency
Total X2
Low 48 115 163
Middle 39 22 61
High 58 6 64
Total 145 143 288
153.79*
(.000)
Note: Low Income= >20,000, Middle Income= 21,000-
30,000, High Income= 31,000+, df= 42, * p<0.01
D. Relationship in Socio-Economic Status Attainment

Socio-economic status attainment characteristics, such as
education, occupation and annual family income are
consistently interrelated. Data mentioned above showed that
educational and occupational status attainments of Muslim
couples were higher than the Santal couples. As a result
annual family income of the former was also higher than the
later. For more understanding table 6 presents data on
Pearson’s inter-correlation coefficients of education,
occupation and annual family income attainments of the
Muslim and Santal couples in the village studied. Data reveal
that there were significantly positive and inverse relationships
between the variables of socio-economic status attainment at
p<0.01 level. That is husbands’ educational attainment was
negatively related to their occupational attainment ((r= -.346,
p= .000*) in turn was positively related to annual family
income attainment (r= .499, p= .000*). In addition, wives’
educational attainment in turn was negatively related to their
occupational attainment ((r= -.379, p= .000*) was positively
related to annual family income attainment (r= .399, p= .000*)
between the communities in rural Bangladesh.
IV. DISCUSSION
Purpose of the study was to compare socio-economic
status attainment between Muslim and Santal couples in rural
Bangladesh. For this, we formulated four hypotheses: (1)
Educational status attainment of Muslim couples was higher
than the Santal couples, (2) Occupational status attainment of
the Muslim couples was higher than the Santal couples, (3)
Annual family income of Muslim couples was higher than that
among the Santal couples, and lastly there were positive linear
relationships between educational, occupational and annual
family income attained by the Muslim and Santal couples in
rural Bangladesh.
TABLE V I
RESULTS OF PEARSON’S INTER-CORRELATION COEFFICIENTS
BETWEEN NUMBER OF COUPLES, HUSBAND’S EDUCATION,
WIFE’S EDUCATION, HUSBAND’S OCCUPATION, WIFE’S
OCCUPATION AND FAMILY INCOME AMONG MUSLIM AND
SANTAL COUPLES (N= 288), KALNA VILLAGE, BANGLADESH, 2007
Variables 1 2 3 4 5
1. Number of
Couples
1
2. Husband’s
Education
-.407*
.000
1
3. Wife’s
Education
-.363*
.000
.531*
.000
1
4. Husband’s
Occupation
.676*
.000
-.389*
.000
-.354*
.000
1
5. Wife’s
Occupation
.871*
.000
-.409*
.000
-.403*
.000
.611*
.000
1
6. Annual Family
Income
-.500*
.000
.451*
.000
.401*
.000
-.455*
.000
-.500*
.000
Note: *p<0.01 (2-tailed test)
In order to examine and compare the hypotheses 288
active couples (per 145 husbands and wives for Muslim and
per 143 husbands and wives for Santal) from the village

Kalna, Bangladesh, were randomly selected by cluster random
sampling. The selected couples were singly interviewed with
semi-structural questionnaire method. The findings of
Pearson Chi-Squire Test suggest that there were significant
differences in socio-economic status attainment: education,
occupation and income between the Muslim and Santal
couples in the Kalna village studied. In addition, these
variables of socio-economic attainment were significantly
related to each other. However, the findings of the study
confirm the hypotheses previously determined in rural
Bangladesh.
A. Educational Status Attainment
Educational attainment was the main comparison area of
socio-economic status attainments by Muslim and Santal
couples in rural Bangladesh. Regarding this we hypothesized
that educational attainment of Muslim couples was higher
than the Santal ones in rural Bangladesh. Our findings reveal
that most of the Santal couples (68.53% for husband and 72%
for wife) compared to the Muslim ones (29.66% for husband
and 40.69% for wife) never went to school. At both primary
and secondary levels educational attainment of the former
couples was also higher than the later cases. Pearson’s Chi-
Squire test suggests that these frequency distributions on
educational attainment by the couples were significantly
different between the communities at p<0.01 level. These
findings of the study are supported by several cross-cultural
studies in abroad [1, 11, 23, 27, 51] and Bangladesh [38, 43-
45, 49, 54]. These studies clearly argued that parental low
socio-economic status and aspiration and structural inequality
were the main causes to access to educational opportunity and
educational attainment for the lower class and minority people
in abroad. Likely Uddin [43-45] in his studies interpreted that
most of the minority people such as the Santal compared to
the dominant group (Muslim) never went to school because of
their mass poverty and structural deprivation and cultural
dominance to them. As a result their educational attainments
across the levels were lower than the dominant group in this
country.
B. Occupational Status Attainment
Occupational attainment was one of the socio-economic
status attainment comparisons by the Muslim and Santal
couples. For this we hypothesized that occupational status
attainment of Muslim couples was higher than the Santal
couples in the agriculture-based economy of rural Bangladesh.
The findings of this study reveal that most of the Muslim
husbands (62.07%) were farmers, while most of the Santal
husbands (83.92%) were day laborers. Regarding wife’s
occupational attainment most of the Santal wives (90.21%)
adopted day laboring, including house wife role, while the
Muslim wives (91.72%) were only housewives due to high
gender role segregation. The results of Pearson’s Chi-Squire
test on educational attainment by the communities’ couples
were also significantly different at p<0.01. These findings are
confirmed by Uddin’s cross-cultural studies [38, 43-45]

conducted in rural Bangladesh. According to his research
although main occupation in this region of Bangladesh is
agriculture, most of the minority people are landless and
severe poor and even they have no settlement /housing land,
as are many lower class Muslims. As a result most of the
minority people, including both adult and non-adult sexes are
involved in day-laboring. In addition, occupational mobility
like many lower class Muslims was very low because of
proper and sufficient education, including skill training in
rural Bangladesh.
C. Annual Family Income Attainment
Lastly this study compared annual family income
contributed by both husband and wife. We also hypothesized
that annual family income attainment of Muslim couples was
higher than its opposite group, the Santal. The results of the
study show that low income couples (>20,000 Tk. yearly) in
the Santal community were 80.42% compared to the Muslim
couples (33.10%). But high income (31,000+) and middle
income (21,000-30,000 Tk.) among the Muslim couples (40%
for high and 26.90% for middle income respectively) were
higher than that among the Santal couples (6 cases for high
and 15.38% for middle income respectively) that were
significant differences at p<0.01 level. These findings are also
supported by Uddin’s several cross-cultural studies [43-45] in
rural Bangladesh. In these studies he argued that low
educational and occupational attainment, unemployment and
landlessness and mass poverty of the Santal compared to the
Muslim were the fundamental affecters on their low annual
family income in rural Bangladesh economy.
D. Relationship in Socio-Economic Status Attainment
Lastly, socio-economic status: education, occupation and
annual family income attained by the couples are consistently
interrelated. Data mentioned above showed that as educational
and occupational status attainments of Muslim couples
compared to the Santal ones were higher, so their annual
family income was also higher. Pearson’s correlation
coefficients reveal that there were significantly positive and
inverse relationships between the variables of socio-economic
status attainment at p<0.01 level. That is husbands’
educational attainment was negatively related to their
occupational attainment ((r= -.346, p= .000*) in turn was
positively related to annual family income attainment (r= .499,
p= .000*). In addition, wives’ educational attainment in turn
was negatively related to their occupational attainment ((r= -
.379, p= .000*) was positively related to annual family income
attainment (r= .399, p= .000*) between the communities in
rural Bangladesh. These findings are confirmed by Covello &
Bollen [25], Rivera-Batiz [26], Kaur & Kalaramna [28] as
well as Uddin’s studies [44, 45].
V. CONCLUSION
Socio-economic status attainment of married couples is the
building block of family social structure. The couples with

their socio-economic status attainment not only occupy certain
statuses and prestige in the family and the community but also
meet human needs and solve familial problems faced in a
particular socio-cultural environment. In order to compare
socio-economic status attainment, including education,
occupation and income this study randomly selected 288
couples, 145 for Muslim and 143 for Santal and interview
method with semi-structured questionnaire was applied for
data collection. The data collected were analyzed by Pearson
Chi-Squire test and Pearson inter-correlation techniques.
Based on the tests our findings suggest that socio-economic
statuses of the Muslim couples were higher than the Santal
couples that were significantly varied and inter-related to each
other between the two communities in the study village,
Kalna, Bangladesh. The results of the study are supported by
several studies conducted in abroad and Bangladesh. Based on
these studies’ findings the present study argues that inequality,
deprivation and dominance in rural power structure between
the two communities influence variations among the couples’
socio-economic status attainment in the study area. Further
cross-cultural study should conduct on how inter-community
relations in hierarchical rural social structure of Bangladesh
influence their respective couples’ socio-economic status
attainment.
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N.B.Md. Emaj Uddin (Ph. D.) is an Associate Professor, Department of Social
Work, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh.
[Phone: (0721) 750041- 4158, Fax: (0721) 750064, Email:
emaj691@yahoo.com].

Source: http://www.waset.org/journals/ijhss/v4/v4-11-102.pdf
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