Shifts in consumption patterns and materialism among the rural poor in Bangladesh

  • Zarjina Tarana Khalil North South University, Dhaka
  • Shafquat Kabir North South University


Dhaka experiences a massive influx of migrants from rural populations entering its vicinity in search of a better life. Driven by hope, the migrant population does not deter from taking up the challenge of an uncertain and insecure life and eventually cultural assimilation takes place. In the process, the population starts to imbibe values of the urban setting whilst holding on to some values of the rural setting. This paper aims to analyse the changes in the consumption pattern of this segment in their new setting. The study will focus particularly on domestic helpers (housemaids), who come from poor rural backgrounds and end up working for households of the more affluent families living in Dhaka. A single cross-sectional survey design was used to gain insight into the consumption pattern of domestic helpers. The survey provides quantitative information to describe and provide tentative explanations into the variables of interest. Due to the scale of the study, it can be considered exploratory and ad-hoc in nature. The paper will investigate the state of their material ownership at the time of arrival from the rural setting, and how their values, perceptions and significance of the material forms shift with the passage of time in the new setting. It will also highlight the change in perception which transcends to their family members still living in the rural settings who now have greater disposable income due to the increase in the aggregate income in the families.

Author Biographies

Zarjina Tarana Khalil, North South University, Dhaka
Senior Lecturer, School of Business
Shafquat Kabir, North South University
School of Business


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How to Cite
Khalil, Z., & Kabir, S. (2014). Shifts in consumption patterns and materialism among the rural poor in Bangladesh. The South Asianist Journal, 3(1). Retrieved from