Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Bangladesh is a classic example of an overwhelmingly rural, low income, less developed country, seeking to achieve basic goals of development in both economic and social terms. In this study, what has been attempted is an analysis of change based on an array of 31 variables measuring social and economic well-being, and relating to an overall concept of development based on social justice and equality of opportunity. Change has been measured over the period 1960 to 1980 using data from the 1961, 1974 and 1981 censuses, organized on the spatial base of Bangladesh's 71 Districts. The primary objective of the investigation was to analyze the regional characteristics of all variables on both an individual (univariate) and composite basis (multivariate), and in both absolute and relative terms. This investigation seeks to test the hypothesis that, over time and given the effort, some positive change did occur. Improvement is here defined as social well-being and greater equity, with particular reference to decline in regional disparities within Bangladesh.;Individual variable analysis reveals a varied pattern of generally modest improvements with public sector investment (health, education) and non-agricultural employment leading the way. Factor analysis using dimensional mapping techniques suggests that there has been an increase in well-being and equalization of benefits, but that improvements are concentrated outside and distinct from the agricultural sector. Composite analysis using cluster techniques suggests that in 1961 the cluster defined regions seem to correspond somewhat to the underlying physical base and traditional, rurally defined areas including one 'core' region (Dhaka District--the capital). In spatial terms, there remain strong differentiations between the two main urban axes (Dhaka-Chittagong and Khulna-Rajshahi) and much of the remaining, more rural hinterland. However, by 1981 there has emerged the more clear-cut development pattern incorporating (1) the better serviced areas, including major urban areas, but by no means an urban cluster, (2) a more specifically rural, less well serviced set of Districts, to some extent peripheral but not describing a coherent periphery, and (3) the set of poor Districts largely concentrated in the Chittagong Hill-Tracts of the south-east. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)



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