The Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) 2022 revealed that the average monthly expenditure of rural households exceeds their average monthly income.
According to the latest survey conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), a rural household's average monthly income in 2022 was Tk 26,163, while their average monthly expenditure amounted to Tk 26,842, which is Tk 669 higher.
The income gap between rural households and the national average was approximately Tk 6,500, whereas the expenditure gap was found to be lower at Tk 4,658, based on the new survey's data.
This indicates that although rural families lag behind urban families in terms of income, their expenditures are not far behind. At the national level, the average monthly household income was Tk 32,422, while the average monthly expenditure was Tk 31,500. The latest survey also found that the average number of members in a household was 4.26 people.
This trend of rural household’s higher income than expenditure was found in HIES 2016 as well. In 2016, rural households’ monthly average income was Tk 13,868, while their income was Tk 288 higher at Tk 14,156.
In an explanation for how a family is meeting their higher expenditure, a BBS official linked to the HIES 2022 project said: “Rural families might have met their higher expenditure with borrowing or they did not provide actual information with regard to their income.”
“Historically people tend to get apprehended or feel shy in providing their income information. But they provided the expenditure data willingly,” he added. However, he said they survey did not try to find out the reason for the income-expenditure gap. HIES 2022 report shows that rural families had to spend more on food in 2022. Their average monthly food expenditure jumped to Tk 13,125 in 2022 which was Tk 7,001 in 2016.
Their food expenditure nearly doubled in six years whereas their spending on food was Tk 5,543.
Non-food expenditure of rural households also doubled to Tk 13,082 in 2022 from Tk 6,866 in 2016. It was Tk 3,893 in 2010. Non-food expenditure includes diesel, petrol and kerosene price, cost of transport, treatment, education and gold purchase, according to BBS.
Per head monthly income was found lower at Tk 6,091 at rural level compared with Tk 7,614 per head income at the national level. These two income levels were Tk 3,261 and Tk 3,940 respectively.