Demand for Domestic Workers in India: Its Characteristics and Correlates

  • Shraddha JainEmail author
  • Udaya S. Mishra


This paper is an attempt towards analysing the demand for domestic workers specifically in urban India, wherein we intend to verify a range of hypotheses pertaining to demand for domestic workers in urban households. The analysis exploits the information obtained in Unemployment and Employment Survey and Consumption Expenditure Survey provided by the National Sample Survey Organisation, to assess the significance of domestic work and to characterise the demand for domestic workers across Indian states. We supplement the discussion with insights from a micro-level enquiry. While it may be otherwise understood that rising economic affluence is the driving force behind this phenomenon, a critical analysis at the household level indicates the complex dynamic of economic affluence and rising dependency determines engagement of domestic workers in urban Indian households. A micro-level study conducted in the National Capital Region throws further light on the nature of demand for domestic workers in urban areas. A survey among employers reveals that employment of domestic workers has been customary for a class of population. However, other household characteristics like women’s employment and life cycle of a household also shape the demand for a domestic worker. Nature of employment, broadly categorised as live-out/day work or live-in work, is also observed to be influenced by economic class and household specific needs.


Domestic workers Women’s employment Economic class Dependency 



This paper has benefitted immensely from the inputs offered by Prof. Praveena Kodoth, and the suggestions and comments as regards analysis received from Dr. Upasak Das are highly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Indian Society of Labour Economics 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Development StudiesThiruvananthapuramIndia

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