Tamil Nadu Socioeconomic Mobility Survey

This survey was initiated to understand the long-term pathways and causal factors that influence socio-economic development.


Economic development is inherently a dynamic but often slow process characterized by changes in institutions, the natural environment and the mobility of individuals. Greater understanding of the multi-level causes and consequences of development has been hampered by the lack of comprehensive data tracking individuals, their environment and institutions over the long term. Yale Economic Growth Center’s Tamil Nadu Socioeconomic Mobility Survey (TNSMS) was initiated to overcome these difficulties in understanding long-term pathways of development. 

The primary objectives of this survey were:

  • To provide a new laboratory for carrying out a wide range of potential studies of the medium and long-term processes of economic development. 
  • To understand the pathways through which local social and political institutions influence patterns of economic development, while taking into account the possibility that the process of economic development itself may shape the evolution of these institutions
  • To investigate long-term interactions between economic development and individual health, nutrition and education.


The Tamil Nadu Socioeconomic Mobility Survey (TNSMS) includes all persons in a random sample of 10,000 households in 200 rural villages, as well as 200 samples of non-rural areas of in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Data collection for the survey was completed in 2010.

Thematic Area

Financial Well-being and Social Protection,

Health Systems and Quality of Life


Tamil Nadu


Yale Economic Growth Center