This is not the first time Engel’s Law has been written about here. And unlikely the last time. The 2016 Household Income and Expenditure Survey report is out and we’ve started poking around for insights.
Here is a sample:
From a high of 60.9% of total household expenditures spent on food in 1990-91, the food ratio has declined to 34.8% in 2016, the lowest it has ever been for Sri Lanka. What that means is that 65.2% of an average household’s expenditures are now devoted to things like housing, transport, education, healthcare, personal care, entertainment and so on. This is what a better life means, practically. We can be happy about how far we have come over the past decades in terms of improving the incomes of Sri Lankan households.
But averages are averages. In the estate sector only 51.5% of household expenditure is available for non-food items. Until we see the gap between our plantation workers and the urban dwellers narrow, we cannot be content.