Migration Trends in India

Out of 1.02 billion people in the country, 307 million (30%) were reported as migrants by place of birth. Migrants by place of birth are those who are enumerated at a village or town at the time of census other than their place of birth.

This proportion i.e. 30% as reported in 2001 census (excluding Jammu and Kashmir) is slightly more than what was reported in 1991 i.e. 27.4%. Infact, there has been steady increase in number of migrants over successive censuses. If we compare between 1961 and 2001 then it has been observed that it has increased between 1961 and 2001 from 144 millions to 307 millions. During the last ten years (1991-2001), the number of migrants (excluding J&K) rose by 32.9%.

If we look at their movement patterns, it has been observed that Maharashtra received largest number of migrants (7.9 million) followed by Delhi (5.6 million) and West Bengal (5.5 million). On the other hand Uttar Pradesh followed by Bihar and Rajasthan are the three top contributors of out migrants.

But if we look at the net migration i.e. the differences between in-migrants and out-migrants Maharashtra stands at the top of the list with 2.3 million net migration followed by Delhi (1.7 million), Gujarat (0.68 million) and Haryana (0.67 million).

(i) Migrants by age

Age profile of inter-state migrants and intra-state migrants. Out of the total migrants numbering about 258 millions who migrated within the state, 17.4% are in the age group of 15-24 years, 23.2% in 25-34 years and 35.6% in 35-59 years. In the case of inter-state migrants, out of which 42 millions (18.5%) is in the age group of 15-24 years, 24.7% is in the age group of 25-34 years and 36.1% is in 35-59 years.

In both the groups i.e. inter-state and intra-state migration we find high proportion of migrants are in the older and economically active age group. The details of inter and intra-state migration will be discussed in the successive paragraphs.

(ii) Migrants by Place of Last Residence

This data is collected to understand the population of migration. It is likely that after one moves out of place of birth, one may continue to migrate from one place to another. Study of migration by place of birth is like studying one time event. Data on migration by last residence reveals recent migrations over the years and therefore more informative. The data on migration by last residence in India as per 2001 census shows that the total number of migrants were 314 millions.

If we look at their duration of stay it has been observed that a substantial proportion among the total migrants i.e. 101 million out of 314 million had migrated at least 20 years back. About 98.3 million had migrated over the last decade (i.e. duration 0-9 years).

Intra-State Migration

The majority of the migrants belong to this category. According to 2001 Census, 80.73 millions of people are intra-state migrants. Among these migrants, overwhelming population i.e. 60.5 percent were rural to rural migrants whereas only 12.3 percent belonged to the category of urban to urban migrants. The remaining 17.6 percent migrants belonged to the category of rural to urban and 6.5% belonged to the urban to rural areas. The rest 3.1 percent is unclassified which means that the respondents have not mentioned any stream.

Among intra-state migrants about 70 percent were females. This high percentage was mainly due to marriages. About 69% of the female migrants were from rural to rural migration. 9.7 percent of female migrants moved from one urban centre to another, 13.6 percent moved from rural to urban areas and only 5.6 percent from urban to rural areas. The rest 2.6 percent is unclassified.

In the case of male migrants, 41.6 percent belonged to the category of rural to rural migrants, 18.3 percent belonged to urban to urban, 27.1 percent belonged to rural to urban and 8.6 percent were urban to rural. The major chunk of population who moved from rural to rural areas are mainly moved out in search of employment.

Inter-State Migration

In India inter-state migration is limited in comparison to intra-state migration. According to 2001 Census, 17 million people were inter-state migrants. Out of these 17 millions people, 26.6 percent belonged to the category of rural to rural migrants, 26.7 belonged to the category of urban to urban, 37.9 belonged to rural to urban and 6.3 percent belonged to urban to rural. The rest 2.6% is unclassified.

About half of all inter-state migrants were males. Among them 26.6% percent moved within the rural areas, 26.7 percent moved within the urban areas. 37.9 percent of migrants moved from rural to urban areas and 6.3 percent from urban to rural areas.