1. Migration

You are familiar with Census in India. It contains information about migration in the country. Actually migration was recorded beginning from the first Census of India conducted in 1881.

This data were recorded on the basis of place of birth. However, the first major modification was introduced in 1961 Census by bringing in two additional components viz; place of birth i.e. village or town and duration of residence (if born elsewhere).

Further in 1971, additional information on place of last residence and duration of stay at the place of enumeration were incorporated.

Information on reasons for migration were incorporated in 1981 Census and modified in consecutive Censuses.

In the Census the following questions are asked on migration :

  • Is the person born in this village or town? If no, then further information is taken on rural/urban status of the place of birth, name of district and state and if outside India then name of the country of birth.
  • Has the person come to this village or town from elsewhere?

    If yes, then further questions are asked about the status (rural/urban) of previous place of residence, name of district and state and if outside India then name of the country.

In addition, reasons for migration from the place of last residence and duration of residence in place of enumeration are also asked.

In the Census of India migration is enumerated on two bases :

  1. place of birth, if the place of birth is different from the place of enumeration (known as life-time migrant);
  2. place of residence, if the place of last residence is different from the place of enumeration (known as migrant by place of last residence).

    As per 2011 census, out of 1,210 million people in the country, 455.8 million (about 37%) were reported as migrants of place of last residence.



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2. Streams of Migration

A few facts pertaining to the internal migration (within the country) and international migration (out of the country and into the country from other countries) are presented here.

Under the internal migration, four streams are  identified:  (a) rural to rural (R-R); (b) rural to urban (R-U); (c) urban to urban (U-U); and (d) urban to rural (U-R).

In India, during 2011, out of  455.0 million migrants, enumerated on the basis of the last residence, 141.9 million had changed their place of residence in the last ten years.

Out of these, 118.7 million were intra-state migrants. The stream was dominated by female migrants. Most of these were migrants related to marriage.


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2. Spatial Variation in Migration

Some states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat and Haryana attract migrants from other states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, etc. Maharashtra occupied first place in migrants, followed by Delhi, Gujarat and Haryana.

On the other hand, Uttar Pradesh was the state, which had the largest number of net out-migrants from the state.

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2. Causes of Migration

People, generally are emotionally attached to their place of birth. But millions of people leave their places of birth and residence. There could be variety of reasons. These reasons can be put into two broad categories :

  1. push factor, these cause people to leave their place of residence or origin; and
  2. pull factors, which attract the people from different places.

In India people migrate from rural to urban areas mainly due to poverty, high population pressure on the land, lack of basic infrastructural facilities like health care, education, etc.

Apart from these factors, natural disasters such as, flood, drought, cyclonic storms, earthquake, tsunami, wars and local conflicts also give extra push to migrate.

On the other hand, there are pull factors which attract people from rural areas to cities. The most important pull factor for majority of the rural migrants to urban areas is the better opportunities, availability of regular work and relatively higher wages.

Better opportunities for education, better health facilities and sources of entertainment, etc., are also quite important pull factors.

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Economic Consequences

A major benefit for the source region is the remittance sent by migrants. Remittances from the international migrants are one of the major sources of foreign exchange.

In 2002, India received US$ 11 billion as remittances from international migrants. Punjab, Kerala and Tamil Nadu receive very significant amount from their international migrants.

The amount of remittances sent by the internal migrants is very meagre as compared to international migrants, but it plays an important role in the growth of economy of the source area.

Remittances are mainly used for food, repayment of debts, treatment, marriages, children’s education, agricultural inputs, construction of houses, etc.

For thousands of the poor villages of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, etc. remittance works as life blood for their economy.

Migration from rural areas of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha to the rural areas of Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh accounted for the success of their green revolution strategy for agricultural development.

Besides this, unregulated migration to the metropolitan cities of India has caused overcrowding. Development of slums in industrially developed states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Delhi is a negative consequence of unregulated migration within the country.

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