Economic Influences on Child Migration Decisions: Evidence from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh
The purpose of the study is to identify factors that cause children to migrate without their parents. The study is based on a survey carried out in the Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh between December 1997 and March 1998. With reference to a theoretical model of adult migration which posits that adults migrate when the expected net present value of gains from migration exceed costs, the paper argues that the patterns of child migration from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar observed are consistent with this ‘financial motives for migration' model in the case of competitive rural child labour markets. The data show that 1 million children live separately from their mothers; however, this does not signify that these children live away from their mothers because of their mothers' migration. Secondly, the results reveal that migrant children seem to come from relatively well-off households who do not own any agricultural land. Thirdly, those children, who are from households with more agricultural and housing assets, tend to come from castes which are in relatively weaker social positions within their villages. Finally, migrant children appear to come from substantially less remote communities and are less likely to migrate from communities where child wages are higher.