IZA DP No. 3174: Economic Influences on Child Migration Decisions: Evidence from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh
published in: Indian Growth and Development Review, 2008, 1(1), 32-56
Why do young children migrate without a parent? We consider the economic components of the answer to this question by examining the correlates of out-migration for children under 15 whose mother's reside in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, India. 1 million children appear to have migrated away from home in our data. On average 3 percent of living children 5-14 in our communities are away from home, but the fraction of out-migrant children ranges between 0 and 29 percent. We find that the data are consistent with a classical view of migration: children on average appear to migrate out of competitive, rural child labor markets for net financial gain. The costs of migration are important. Children are less likely to migrate from more remote locations. Children are less likely to migrate from locations where child wages are higher. Overall, patterns of child migration away from their mothers look similar to what other researchers have observed in adult populations in different social and economic contexts.