Life Satisfaction among the Poorest of the Poor: A Study in Urban Slum Communities in India

Esther Sulkers*, Jasmijn Loos

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    51 Downloads (Pure)


    This study investigates the level and predictors of life satisfaction in people living in slums in Kolkata, India. Participants of six slum settlements (n = 164; 91% female) were interviewed and data on age, gender, poverty indicators and life satisfaction were collected. The results showed that the level of global life satisfaction in this sample of slum residents did not significantly differ from that of a representative sample of another large Indian city. In terms of life-domain satisfaction, the slum residents were most satisfied with their social relationships and least satisfied with their financial situation. Global life satisfaction was predicted by age, income and non-monetary poverty indicators (deprivation in terms of health, education and living standards) (R-2 15.4%). The current study supports previous findings showing that people living in slums tend to report higher levels of life satisfaction than one might expect given the deprivation of objective circumstances of their lives. Furthermore, the results suggest that factors other than objective poverty make life more, or less, satisfying. The findings are discussed in terms of theory about psychological adaptation to poverty.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)281–293
    Number of pages13
    JournalPsychological studies
    Early online date4-May-2022
    Publication statusPublished - Sept-2022


    • Life satisfaction
    • Poverty
    • Urban slum
    • India
    • MONEY


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