Does Employment-Related Migration Reduce Poverty in India? (2015)

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Using the unit data from the 64th round of the National Sample Surveys, 2007–08 on employment, unemployment, and migration, covering 125,578 households, this paper estimates the level, depth, and severity of poverty among non-migrants and intra-state migrants, inter-state migrants, and emigrants in India. Based on the out-migration of any members of the household for employment at place of origin and using place of last residence definition, households are classified into intra-state migrants, inter-state migrant, emigrants, and non-migrant households. Economic well-being of migrant’s households at the place of origin is measured by consumption expenditure (income). A set of poverty indices, the poverty headcount ratio, poverty gap ratio, and square poverty gap, are estimated from the household consumption expenditure to measure the level, depth, and severity of poverty among migration categories. The official state-specific poverty line is used in estimating the poverty indices. Descriptive analyses and logistic regression analyses are used in the analyses. Results suggest that the level, depth, and severity of poverty among migrant households is lower than that among non-migrant households; however, it varies across migrant categories. The poverty head count ratio was 41 % among inter-state migrants, 31 % among intra-state migrants, 20 % among emigrants, and 39 % among non-migrants in India. The poverty gap ratio and squared poverty gap were highest among inter-state migrants. Two broad patterns emerge from the state level analyses. Barring Kerala and Punjab that have a higher percentage of emigrants, inter-state migration accounts for a larger share of employment-related migration from the less developed states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha while intra-state migration accounts for a larger share in the developed states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. Second, the level, depth, and severity of inter-state migrants from less developed states is higher than that of intra-state migrants and non-migrants; however, the pattern is reversed in the more developed states of India. Adjusting for socioeconomic correlates, the odds of poor among intra-state migrants are lower than those among inter-state migrant’s households. The study supports the proposition that migration and remittances in India are not panacea to structural development constraints and that poor long-distance migrants need to be integrated in poverty alleviation programs.
Year: 2015
Language: English
In: Journal of International Migration and Integration,

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