Migration and urban poverty in India : some preliminary observations
Mishra, U. S.
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Decision to Migrate is mostly a choice - except in compelling circumstances of conflict and insecurity - and therefore needs to be examined in terms of its economic outcomes. This paper deals with migration decisions to urban areas that are backed by economic rationale and attempts to understand gains accruing to individuals from migration, in terms of poverty outcomes. The analysis is based on the 55th round survey data on Employment - Unemployment Survey 1999-2000 (EUS) provided by the National Sample Survey Organisation. We undertake a broad descriptive socio-economic profiling of the migrant households in urban India and explore the dynamics of poverty among interstate as well as intrastate migrants to urban destinations. Further, we evaluate the impact of migration on the economic status of migrants by analysing the characteristic of ‘duration since migration’. Considering migration as a transition, this exercise makes a broad comparison of change in economic status of migrants at the destination as against the origin. The analysis reveals that migrants disadvantaged in terms of caste, education and residence earn poorer returns to migration. While returns to migration have proved to be positive with increased duration at the destination, the characteristic endowment like education and social group identity seem to make a further difference. Keywords: Migration, Urban Poverty, India JEL Classification: R2, I32, R23