Data Card

International migration

Print edition : December 13, 2013
The number of international migrants in 2013 was over 3 per cent of the world population.

According to United Nations global migration statistics, 232 million people, or 3.2 per cent of the world’s population, are international migrants in 2013, compared with 175 million in 2000 and 154 million in 1990.

The data also reveal that:

• Almost half of the migrants are women.

• One of every 10 migrants is under the age of 15.

• Four of every 10 migrants live in developing countries.

• South-South migration is as common as South-North migration.

• Europe remains the most popular destination, with 72 million international migrants in 2013, compared with 71 million in Asia.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has put forward an eight-point agenda to “make migration work” for migrants, societies of origin and societies of destination alike:

1. Protect the human rights of all migrants

2. Reduce the costs of labour migration

3. Eliminate migrant exploitation, including human trafficking

4. Address the plight of stranded migrants

5. Improve public perceptions of migrants

6. Integrate migration into the development agenda

7. Strengthen the migration evidence base

8. Enhance migration partnerships and cooperation

Global remittances, including remittances to high-income countries, are expected to reach $550 billion (Rs.35 lakh crore) in 2013. Yet every year, billions of these funds are withheld in unnecessarily high transaction fees. Moreover, countless migrants pay their life savings, and those of their families, to unethical recruiters and end up in debt bondage.

India's internal migration

The following facts and figures are from “Migration in India 2007-08”, a report of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation based on the 64th round of the National Sample Survey, released in 2010.

• India’s internal migrants constitute a third of its population at 309 million, against 11.4 million emigrants.

• 35 per cent of people in urban areas and 26 per cent of people in rural areas have moved from their places of usual residence. However, migration is largely confined to within the same State.

• Migration is primarily of two types:

i. Long-term migration, resulting in the relocation of an individual or a household; ii. Short-term or seasonal/ circular migration, involving back and forth movement between a source and a destination.

• Out of the total internal migrants, 70.7 per cent are women. Marriage is given as the prominent reason for female migration in both rural and urban areas—91 per cent of rural female migrants and 61 per cent of the urban female migrants.

• Migration for employment is given as the prominent reason for male migration in both rural and urban areas—29 per cent rural male migrants and 56 per cent of urban male migrants.

• Lead source States: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu.

• Key destination States: Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab and Karnataka.

• Migrants are mostly employed in the following sub-sectors: construction, domestic work, textile, brick kilns, transportation, mines, quarries and agriculture.

• Migrants face denial of basic entitlements, including access to subsidised food, housing, drinking water, sanitation and public health facilities, education and banking service, and often work in poor conditions devoid of social security and legal protection.

• The positive impact of migration remains unrecognised.

• In 2007-08, international migrants sent an average of Rs.57,000 per person as remittance while internal migrants sent Rs.14,600 on an average.


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