Contrary to popular perception, marriage, not employment, is the reason why Indian youth migrate within the country. Of the 110 million youth in the 15-32 age group who migrated from their place of origin in 2008-09, 77.5 million (over 70 per cent) cited marriage as the reason for shifting, according to a UN-Habitat report.
The report — State of the Urban Youth, India-2013 — was released in Mumbai on Sunday and is based on NSSO (2010) data. The findings of the report further state that 10 per cent of migrations happen because of a family member whereas only 9.5 per cent youth shift their base for employment reasons.
The high number of people migrating because of marriage has surprised all. It indicates that not only women but also men tend to leave their villages/districts/states for marriage. There was no significant difference in the proportion of male and female migrants.
Abdul Shaban, professor at TISS, says the researchers seem to be ignorant. “I don’t think 70 per cent migration happens because of marriage. If we go by that figure, then it implies that at least 20 per cent men shift their base to be with their wives,” he said, adding that sometimes, NSSO data gives a false indication.
Dr DK Mangal, programme coordinator of the Maharashtra unit of United Nations Population Fund, agrees with Shaban. “If we assume that 50 per cent of migrants are women as per the population ratio, it means 20 per cent of those who migrated are men. India is a patriarchal society and therefore, that is not possible,” he said.
However, there are cases where men have moved cities after marriage. Software engineer Rohit Seth, who recently moved to Mumbai from Delhi since his wife works there, said: “Her job is such that employees don’t get transferred. So, I took a decision to move here. I don’t think we should pay too much attention to traditions and perceptions.”
S Chandrashekhar and Ajay Sharma, professor and Ph.D student of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, who have authored the “Internal migration among youth for education and employment” for UN-Habitat report could not be reached.
Interestingly, the report also highlights the “extraordinary” success of migrants. “Young people migrating in search of work usually find jobs. Only less than one per cent migrant fail to get employment,” it said.
A majority of the migration takes place within a state and 84 per cent of the rural to urban shift is intra-state, according to the report. Rural to urban shift within the state has gone down from 80.3 per cent to 74.8 per cent during 2000-2008. However, rural to urban shift outside the state has gone up from 19.6 per cent to 25.2 per cent in the same period.