Understanding Social Inequalities in Pakistan: An Intersectionality Perspective on Ethnicity, Income, and Education


  • Dr. Faisal Munir,Irfan Hussain Khan, Maimoona Javed, Muhammad Sibt-e-Ali, Laila Zaib


Horizontal Inequality; Ethnicity; Pakistan; Group Gini; PSLM.


Pakistan with federation of four provincial administrative boundaries, it is heterogenous based on ethnicity and class. Income shared by bottom 20% is less than one tenth to top 20%. This situation is severe under ethnic—class intersectionality. Researchers shed light on vertical inequality but, gave less importance to group inequalities and their potential interaction. This study invested effort to measure horizontal inequality in social wellbeing and tested intersectionality between ethnicity and class by utilizing nationally representative household level data of Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey (PSLM-2015). Weighted asset index is used for measuring economic status. Mean years of schooling and health index are considered as social wellbeing. Empirical findings contain detailed description of wellbeing based on ethnicity and social class, further, for instance, ethnic inequality is measured using group Gini index. Contribution of micro-economic factors in horizontal inequality is estimated using two step, regression-based decomposition analysis. Group Gini estimates reveal that ethnic inequality in education and health is high and shared on different microeconomic factors. Results using interaction terms show that for every unit increase in schooling years and asset index, there are disproportionate gains in wellbeing among ethnic groups. Contribution in economic inequality is shared by ethnicity, employment status, education, housing amenities and demography. Similarly, inequality in education and health status is contributed by ethnicity, asset index and housing amenities and demography. There is need to consider internationality for formulating effective policy to reduce horizontal inequalities in socio-economic wellbeing. Improvement required in level of education, income and housing amenities for Balochi, Sindhi, and Siraiki, as these communities are found to have less productivity gains with reference to other communities.