The Urban (Dis)Advantage: Slums, School and Children’s Work

Valerie Lewis, Harvard University

The recent trend of rapid urbanization and concentration of poverty may be changing the traditional urban advantage. I examine how children living in slums fare in terms of educational attendance and work for pay compared to other urban and rural children. This paper uses data from the National Family Health Survey of India, making use of new slum oversamples. Several important findings emerge. First, India has made remarkable progress toward universal primary education, reaching nearly 90% attendance. In secondary education, however, slum children are disadvantaged compared to both other urban and rural children; slums also experience faster declines in attendance. Both deficit and opportunity cost models are considered as explanations. This research implies further work should be done elucidating the different predictors of primary versus secondary school attendance as well as reasons that slum children are less likely to be attending secondary school.

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Presented in Poster Session 5