Urban Employment in India: Recent Trends and Patterns

Marty Chen, Govindan Raveendran
  • Subtitle: WIEGO Working Paper No. 7

Working Paper 7 was first published in 2011 and was updated in 2014. This paper explores trends in urban employment in India, with a focus on informal employment, and highlights the growing significance of four groups of urban informal workers: home-based workers, street vendors, domestic workers and waste pickers.

Urban Employment in India: Recent Trends and Patterns

Data from three of recent large-sample rounds of the National Sample Survey (from 1999/2000, 2004/2005, and 2011/2012) is used. An analysis of the data reveals that rather than being increasingly absorbed into modern formal wage employment, India’s urban workforce is, in fact, becoming increasingly informal.

The paper concludes with a call for re-envisioning Indian cities to allow informal enterprises, activities, and workers to operate alongside formal firms, activities, and workers.


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Informal Economy Theme
Informal Economy Topic
Publication Type