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Rural to Urban Migration: A District Level Analysis for India

Discussion Papers


by Arup Mitra and MURAYAMA Mayumi
March 2008


Based on the recent census data this paper analyses the district level rural to urban migration rates (both intra-state and the inter-state) among males and females separately. Both the rates are closely associated irrespective of whether the migrants originate from the rural areas within the state or outside the state. This would suggest that women usually migrate as accompanists of the males. Though many of the relatively poor and backward states actually show large population mobility, which is primarily in search of a livelihood, the mobility of male population is also seen to be prominent in the relatively advanced states like Maharashtra and Gujarat. Rapid migration of rural females within the boundaries of the states is, however, evident across most of the regions. The social networks, which play an important role in the context of migration are prevalent among the short distance migrants and tend to lose their significance with a rise in the distance between the place of origin and destination though there are some exceptions to this phenomenon. Besides the north-south divide in the Indian context is indeed a significant phenomenon with a few exceptions of metropolitan cities. As regards the effect of factors at the place of destination, prospects for better job opportunities are a major determinant of male migration. Low castes and minority groups tend to pull migration through network effects. Among females also these effects are evident though with the inclusion of the male migration rate they become less significant. Finally the paper brings out the policy implications.

Keywords: rural-to-urban migration, poverty, India, 2001 census, gender
JEL classification: J61, R23

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