Households find it cheaper to use children than to hire adult wage laborers as household help and in their farms and enterprises.
Nonhousehold-based enterprises also hire children for the same reason in certain sectors.
Both supply and demand for child workers are important to developing such an understanding.
On the supply side, the most common reason for parents to put their children to work is extreme poverty.
The next section discusses background and contextual factors to set the stage for the rest of the chapter.
The section covers definitional issues as well as data quality and availability problems.
In these areas, schooling may be inaccessible and of poor quality, as well as costly.
Another reason for child labor is that when faced with a loss of income from temporary shocks, such as a failed harvest or an illness that keeps the breadwinning parent from work, poor parents take their children out of school and put them to work to compensate in part for the lost income.
However, hundreds of millions of children around the world are engaged in some work, many of them for long hours and in hazardous conditions.
According to estimates for 2002 from the International Labour Organization (ILO) (2002b) there are about 246 million child laborers (aged 5-17) in the world, 180 million of whom are working in what are referred to as the worst forms of child labor, often involving hazardous conditions.