Socio economic condition of a region is an important determinant of measuring the real quality of life and welfare of the region. The socio-economic status can be evaluated as a combination of certain factors including income, level of education, and occupation. Socio-economic status (SES) and environment are closely related, and SES can often have profound effects on environment and climate change and its impacts due to differences in ability to access lifestyle choices that are associated with income, education, and the social structure. State Domestic Product (SDP) is one of the economic indicators to measure the growth and structural changes in the economy of the state. The Gross Domestic Product of the state in absolute term has been increasing over the years. However, there have been some fluctuations in the composition of State Domestic Product. The composition of tertiary sectors has considerably increased from 38.59% in 2004-05 to 53.56% in 2012-13 whereas the share of primary and secondary sectors to State GDP which stood at 24.75% and 36.66% respectively in 2004-05 have declined to 18.60% and 24.84% respectively in 2012-13. Per capita income indicating the economic welfare of the state at current and constant prices in 2012-13 are estimated to be Rs. 36,474 and Rs 23,996 respectively showing an increase of 11.74 % and 6.85 % over the previous year[1]. This is much below the all India Per Capita Income of Rs. 67,839 for the same year. The work participation rate of Manipur is 45.1 % as per 2011 census out of which 73.8 % are main workers and 26.2 % are marginal workers. Among the marginal workers, about 79 % work for a period of 3 to 6 months in a year whereas 21 % works less than 3 months a year[2].  Low socio economic status is a risk factor for climate change.


Poverty has a close association with climate change. The new poverty estimates recommended by the Rangarajan committee translates to a monthly per capita consumption expenditure of Rs 929.57 in rural areas and Rs 1274.32 in urban areas in Manipur in 2011-12. Basing on the new poverty estimates, 73.4 percent of the urban population of Manipur in 2011-12 is below poverty line which is the highest in the whole country. The poverty ratio in the rural areas even though, decreases from 44.4 percent in 2009-10 to 34.9 percent in 2011-12; it is still one among the highest in the country. It is spectacular from the fact that Manipur has the overall second highest incidence of poverty next only to Chattisgarh, with 46.7 per cent of the population below the poverty line in 2010-12. Even though poverty ratio of Manipur from 2009-10 to 2011-12 shows a slight decrease, 12.9 Lakhs of persons are still living below poverty line.

Table 1: Poverty Ratio and Number of Poor in 2009-10 and 2011-12 based on the Expert Group (Rangarajan)  Methodology





% of persons

No. of Persons (lakhs)

% of persons

No. of Persons (lakhs)

% of persons

No. of Persons (lakhs)
















Availability of basic amenities of the households is another significant economic measure to understand the standard of living of the people. As per 2011 census, only 38.8 % of the households’ avail taps facility as source of drinking water in the State. While 13.3 % households use wells, hand pumps or tubewells, the rest majority of the households (47.1 %) depends on other sources for drinking water.[3] Moreover, only 46.6 % of the households of the state’s use sanitary latrine while 10 % defecate in the open, the rest use other types of non- sanitary latrines like pit etc.  In terms of source of lighting, while one-fourth of the households use kerosene, 68.3 % has electricity, with the rest depending on other sources. About 70 % of the households of the state use firewood for cooking purposes[4]. Use of non- sanitary latrines, use of kerosene as source of lighting and households depending on other sources of drinking water other than tap, wells and hand-pump etc. are more susceptible to climate change and its impacts. Lack of connectivity and mobility increases the level of vulnerability.


Demography is another important factor that determines climate change. Population of Manipur as per 2011 census stands at 28,55,794 which continues to be predominantly rural, with rural population constituting about two third of the total population. Increase in population is one important factor that gives pressure on land for settlement and for farming purposes. The state has an agrarian economy and the bulk of population depends mostly on agriculture for their livelihood. Manipur is home to 34 scheduled tribal groups and it contributes about 35 % to the State’s total population whereas about 4 percent of the state population belongs to Scheduled caste. The tribals largely depend on forests and forests resources which are degrading over time.  Urbanisation in the valley districts and shifting cultivation in the hill districts are important drivers of climate change in the State. Urban population of Manipur has increased by 0.3 million between 2001 and 2011 with a decadal growth of 43 %. About 55 % of the area under paddy cultivation is covered by shifting cultivation which is not a sustainable mode of cultivation[5]. The problem of shifting cultivation has become acute due to the compulsion of the shortening of the jhum cycle from about 10 years to a bare 3 years now[6].

The socio-economic condition of the state is characterised with low per-capita income, high incidence of poverty, rapid growth of population, high proportion of marginal workers, limited access to basic amenities, unsustainable use of resources etc.  These socio-economic factors, on one hand contribute immensely to the cause of climate change.  On the other hand, climate change makes the people with low socio-economic condition more vulnerable to its impacts. Raising socio-economic status of the region could be one of the main effective measures to combat climate change and its adverse effects.

[1] Economic Survey Manipur, 2012-13

[2] Ibid

[3] Census of India, 2011

[4] Economic Survey Manipur, 2012-13, Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Government of Manipur

[5] Statistical Year Book, Manipur, 2013, Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Government of Manipur

[6] Ashokvardhan, D.C., (Ed). (2004). Socio-economic profile of rural India; North East India: Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland). Concept Publishing Company, New Delhi