While housing conditions in general have improved in recent years, disparities still persist across communities, and between rural & urban areas

Roughly one in six families were able to move from a kuccha to a pucca house in the five years between 2011 and 2016, a Mint analysis of data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) conducted in 2015-16 and the last census conducted in 2011 shows. Although designed as a health survey, the NFHS is a rich source of data on living conditions and has a wide coverage, with more than half a million respondents.

The proportion of households staying at a pucca house—one which is strong or permanent in nature—rose from 55% in 2011 to 71% in 2015-16, the analysis shows. The rise was sharper in rural India compared to urban India.

Here, pucca house refers to any dwelling where walls and roof are made of improved materials such as galvanized iron (GI)/metal/asbestos sheets or stones with cement or bricks or concrete. This is the definition employed by Census to categorize a house as pucca and is a bit lenient as it excludes any floor specification.

The share of pucca houses is the highest in the northernmost states. It is the worst in eastern states—West Bengal, Assam and other northeastern states—with only 55% of houses in these states being pucca in 2015-16, although some of these states have been catching up.