Domestic Women Workers Rights Forum

Numbers of Domestic Workers in India

How many domestic workers are there in India? No straight answer to the question is available as there is no straight definition of the phrase ‘domestic worker’ itself.

Media and non-governmental organisations frequently cite a figure of 90 million domestic workers for India. But the primary source for this figure is not given anywhere and it is not possible to establish where the figure came from and what the basis was. Some authorities on the issue have been too conservative and estimated that there were only 2.5 million domestic workers in India.

Probably the most comprehensive data source for India is the Employment and Unemployment Survey, conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) at the national level every five years. The most recent data from this survey refer to the 61st round and an analysis of the micro-dataset suggests that the number of domestic workers in India was 4.2 million in 2004-05, representing 1 per cent of total employment.

The numbers must have gone up only.