IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Regional patterns and determinants of commuting between rural and urban India


  • Vasavi Bhatt

    () (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research)

  • S. Chandrasekhar

    () (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research)

  • Ajay Sharma

    () (Indian Institute of Management, Indore)


Despite an increase in the number of workers commuting between rural and urban areas, much of theliterature on worker mobility continues to be migration centric. This paper establishes the importance ofrural-urban commuting in India. As per estimates from Periodic Labour Force Survey 2018-19, anestimated 18.8 million individuals living in rural are working in urban India and the share of earnings from urban in total non-farm rural earnings is 19.3 percent. Among all rural workers, 7.3 percent arerural-urban commuters while only 2.1 percent of urban workers are urban-rural commuters. Wedocument large variations at the sub-national level. Our results from a multinomial model to understand the factors associated with commuting highlight the importance of lagged regional unemployment rate. A high rural unemployment rate acts as a push factor and a low urban unemployment rate acts as a pull factor for rural urban commuting. The urbanness of occupations in aregion is also an important correlate of commuting. The paper concludes by highlighting the need toprioritize questions in Indias labour force survey that would help understand the nature of labour mobility and strength of rural urban linkages.

Suggested Citation

  • Vasavi Bhatt & S. Chandrasekhar & Ajay Sharma, 2020. "Regional patterns and determinants of commuting between rural and urban India," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2020-025, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
  • Handle: RePEc:ind:igiwpp:2020-025

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Labour Mobility; Commuting; Rural-Urban Linkages; Classification of Jobs; India;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ind:igiwpp:2020-025. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamprasad M. Pujar). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.