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How Indians move within the country, in charts

Nearly half of Indian women live in a place different from their own, while among men, the share is just 11.3%, half of them for jobs, shows a 2020-21 government household survey whose data was released last week.

The route from Uttar Pradesh to Maharashtra accounts for 5.7% of all inter-state job-related migrations, the largest migrant movement of all state pairings, shows a Mint analysis of the unit-level data. (HT)Premium
The route from Uttar Pradesh to Maharashtra accounts for 5.7% of all inter-state job-related migrations, the largest migrant movement of all state pairings, shows a Mint analysis of the unit-level data. (HT)

Marriage is a far larger driver of migration in India than jobs—mostly involving women who move between villages within their own state due to exogamous traditions. Nearly half of Indian women live in a place different from their own, while among men, the share is just 11.3%, half of them for jobs, shows a 2020-21 government household survey whose data was released last week. The route from Uttar Pradesh to Maharashtra accounts for 5.7% of all inter-state job-related migrations, the largest migrant movement of all state pairings, shows a Mint analysis of the unit-level data. However, only 44% of earning migrants see increased income after moving, the data showed. Kerala is among the most unattractive states if you are looking for an increase in income after migration.

Note: The National Sample Survey defined migrants as those who had ever spent at least six straight months in a village/town/country different from their current place of residence, i.e. where they were surveyed.

Migrant profile

One in three urban Indians is a 'migrant'—but mostly intra-state. Just 7% of urban Indians have come from another state. Across India, the share of locals living in their own usual place is 71%. Among migrants, 55% have moved between villages—mostly women moving after marriage.

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Tracking movement

Delhi has the highest share of persons (21.3%) who have come from outside its territory, followed by Himachal Pradesh (8.5%). Intra-state migration is much more common: Himachal Pradesh sees the highest extent, with 37.2% of its population staying away from home within the same state. The hill state also sees high migration to rural areas: 44% of its rural population comes from elsewhere.

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Why do we move?

Jobs are the biggest reason for migration for men, with 39% of male migrants in rural India and 56% in urban India having moved to their current place for employment-related reasons. Among women, the primary reason is marriage, with almost nine in 10 having come to their current place for this reason. Fewer than 2% migrated women in India have come from another place for a job-related reason—a reflection of India's low female labour force participation.

Moving for jobs

Himachal Pradesh and Telangana have the highest share of job-related migrants in their total urban male population. Northeastern states have the fewest such migrants. In Delhi and Maharashtra, the share stands at 17% and 18%. However, it doesn't always work out well: just 44% of all migrants who were earning in their original place reported increased income after making the move.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tanay Sukumar
Tanay leads Mint's data journalism team. His role involves editing and overseeing the newspaper's diverse data offerings, ranging from deep analytical pieces to bite-sized social media charts.
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Published: 12 Mar 2023, 11:15 PM IST
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