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Migration and Wellbeing at the Lower Echelons of the Economy: A Study of Delhi Slums


  • Mitra, Arup
  • Tsujita, Yuko


This paper based on a primary survey of households (2004-05) in the slum clusters of Delhi examines whether migrants are likely to experience upward mobility in their place of destination or alternatively, if they merely transfer their poverty from rural areas to large cities. First, a simple bifurcation of population in terms of poor and non-poor sub-groups is examined along with the incidence of poverty across different categories of occupations and non-workers. Then, an explanation of the variations in per capita expenditure across households is provided, and a binomial logit model (poor/non-poor) is developed identifying the variables which raise (or reduce) the probability of being non-poor (or poor). Next, an estimate of the wellbeing (deprivation) index is derived from factor analysis of a large number of variables including demographic and economic aspects of households.Empirical findings suggest that while duration of migration and the wellbeing index do not have a definite relationship, migrant households who have been in the city for a very long time have a higher wellbeing index on average than those who migrated in the last ten years. This tends to support the view that migrants do not merely transfer rural poverty to urban areas, and further that population mobility yields improvement in the living standard, if only in the very long term. Implementation of "employment-cum-shelter" support schemes in the urban areas may contribute to their wellbeing.

Suggested Citation

  • Mitra, Arup & Tsujita, Yuko, 2006. "Migration and Wellbeing at the Lower Echelons of the Economy: A Study of Delhi Slums," IDE Discussion Papers 51, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
  • Handle: RePEc:jet:dpaper:dpaper51

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Banerjee, Biswajit, 1991. "The determinants of migrating with a pre-arranged job and of the initial duration of urban unemployment : An analysis based on Indian data on rural-to-urban migrants," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 337-351, October.
    2. Das Gupta, Monica, 1987. "Informal Security Mechanisms and Population Retention in Rural India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 101-120, October.
    3. Arup Mitra, 1992. "Urban Poverty: A Rural Spill-Over?," Indian Economic Review, Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, vol. 27, pages 403-419.
    4. Kuchiki, Akifumi, 2005. "Theory of a Flowchart Approach to Industrial Cluster Policy," IDE Discussion Papers 36, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
    5. Stark,Oded, 1999. "Altruism and Beyond," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521663731, April.
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    More about this item


    Wellbeing; Migrant worker; Slums; Population movement; Quality of life; Household; Poverty; India; スラム; 人口移動; 生活水準; クォリティーオブライフ; 家計; 貧困; インド;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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