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What the rural to urban move says about migration

Six districts have more than a million migrants who made the rural-to-urban move: Mumbai Suburban, Surat, Thane, Pune, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad.. Photo: iStockPremium
Six districts have more than a million migrants who made the rural-to-urban move: Mumbai Suburban, Surat, Thane, Pune, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad.. Photo: iStock

  • The number of migrants who moved from rural to urban areas stood at 52 million out of a total population of 1.02 billion, as per the 2001 Census
  • About 450 million of 1.2 billion Indians migrated within the country, according to recently released Census 2011 data

About 450 million of 1.2 billion Indians migrated within the country, according to recently released Census 2011 data. Of this, 78 million, or 15.6% of all domestic migrants, moved from rural to urban areas. This is how their numbers have changed over 2001 and where they moved.

How have the rural-to-urban numbers risen?

The number of migrants who moved from rural to urban areas stood at 52 million out of a total population of 1.02 billion, as per the 2001 Census. Thus, the 2011 number of 78 million is a jump of 51%. The share of rural-to-urban migrants in the population rose from 5.06% in 2001 to 6.5% in 2011. Women outnumber men in making the rural-to-urban shift. Of the 78 million, 55% were females and they outnumbered males in 554 of the 640 districts. The share of male rural-to-urban migrants in the total male population rose from 4.6% to 5.7%; for females, the share rose from 5.5% to 7.4%.

Is such a migration pattern concentrated in some areas?

There is a concentration of movement, partly because few districts have a principally urban construct and partly because economic opportunities show geographical skews. In terms of the number of rural-to-urban migrants received, the share of the top 25 districts was 31%. Six of these districts are in Maharashtra, five in Delhi, four in Gujarat and three each in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. Beyond the metros, the top districts in terms of the number of such migrants are Surat in Gujarat, Rangareddy in Telangana and Thrissur in Kerala.

Which are the districts where it is prominent?

Six districts have more than a million migrants who made the rural-to-urban move: Mumbai Suburban, Surat, Thane, Pune, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad.

Where do rural-to-urban migrants have a big share in the population?

The flow of migrants into an area changes its population mix. For example, Daman, a Union territory that has a small local population but is also an industrial zone, has migrants from rural areas making up about 50% of its population. However, the share of rural-to-urban migrants is over 20% in just 23 of the 640 districts (see map). In 374 districts, this figure is below 5%. Beyond Union territories (UTs), Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh has the highest share of rural-to-urban migrants in its population (39%).

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Is the migration taking place across states?

Rural-to-urban moves are mostly happening within the state. Of the 78 million, only 19.6 million have come from outside the state of their birth. In UTs, which have a small local population compared to states, 90% of rural-to-urban migrants come from outside. In other districts, there is variance in terms of whether migrants come from within the state or outside of it. For example, in the two districts of Mumbai, 63% of such migrants are from outside Maharashtra.

Howindialives.com is a database and search engine for public data.

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