On The Corner: Day Labor in the United States

May 2, 2006

Professor Nik Theodore of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs provided an overview of the results of a three-year, first-ever study of the numbers, demographics, and working conditions of day laborers in the United States. The study, which Theodore co-authored with researchers from UCLA an the New School University in New York City, describes the characteristics of these workers' backgrounds and troubling aspects of their working conditions across five U.S. regions: the West, Midwest, Southwest, South, and East.

"The goal was to document a population that, though quite visible on the corners of U.S. cities, is poorly understood by the public and by policy makers," said Nik Theodore, an assistant professor in the Urban Planning and Policy Program at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and one of the study's three lead authors. "We hope to inform policy debates so that decision makers can devise thoughtful and effective strategies for resolving many of the problems that day laborers face." Theodore surveyed 264 hiring sites in 143 municipalities in 20 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.