Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2018

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Social Work

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Each year tens of thousands of families in India undertake rural to urban migration for short spells of time in search of work in the construction sector. For some households, family-based migration Рwherein the entire household including children migrate to the city - is predominantly a livelihood strategy but for most others it is a basic survival strategy, especially in the absence of employment opportunities in rural areas. While the prevalence of migration for construction work and its significance for employment generation have been well-documented, most discussion on this subject has been restricted to economic aspects of labor: mobility, supply and demand, employability, wages, recruitment practices etc. Little is known about other aspects of migration such as the subjective experience of mobility and urban living, and its implications for health. For instance, while there is broader consensus that workers encounter high levels of pollution in the work environment and experience poor living conditions, it is not exactly clear how these factors affect their health and overall wellbeing, or how children are impacted by migration. The purpose of this study is to: understand how migration for construction work affects maternal health experiences and access to healthcare services; 2) categorize child (under age five) anthropometry and examine the underlying causes of malnutrition; 3) investigate barriers to government run maternal health and nutrition programs. Using a mixed-methods framework, anthropometric measurements of mothers and children, in-depth interviews of various stake holders and extensive observation of the built environment on construction sites were undertaken. The findings suggest that the context of migration, wage patterns, living conditions and informal work environment as well as lack of access to government programs and services, have deep implications for maternal health as well as child malnutrition. Implications for future practice, research and policy are also discussed.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Jean-Francois Trani

Committee Members

Lora Iannotti, Molly Metzger, Bret Gustafson, Manish Jha,


Permanent URL: 2020-07-19

Available for download on Monday, August 15, 2118

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