Consequences of Migration
There are various dimensions of the consequences that migration has on both the source region and the destination. We will try to cover most of them here.
Consequences of Migration
Economic Consequences of Migration
Let’s talk about the positives first of all. Benefits to the source region:
- international migrants send remittances back to their countries. For example, India earns a lot of foreign exchange through remittances. The states that top the chart in this respect are Punjab, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
- intra-national migrants send remittances back to their states. Though it’s very less as compared to foreign emigration, but helpful nevertheless. This helps grow the economy of the source region, e.g. rural areas of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.
Of course, the destination regions benefit too. For example, workers from rural areas of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa migrated to rural areas of Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh during the 1970s and helped in bringing about green revolution in these areas.
However, there are some negative consequences of migration too.
- as migration to cities, especially big cities, is almost unregulated, it has led to overcrowding in these places, and that led to inhuman living conditions, slums, and filth. You will see a plethora of slum areas in more industrially developed regions of the country, such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Delhi.
- though the source regions get remittances, the outflow of semi-skilled and skilled workforce leads to lack of good human resources there. This brain drain has its own hidden costs – lack of local development, lack of proper research work, dependence on external economies, etc.
Demographic Consequences of Migration
- Migration is one of the main causes of the population growth of cities, especially the mega cities. People from rural areas often bypass the Tier II and Tier III cities and go directly to metropolitan cities, as here they get more economic opportunities.
- As most of the economic migration is done by young males, it causes demographic imbalances in both the source and the destination. The source regions are left with more females and old people.
Social Consequences of Migration
Migration has both positive and negative social consequences.
Positive social consequences:
- Migration has led to intermixing of people from various regions, diverse cultures and countries. This has helped in the evolution of a composite culture, and breaking of many narrow stereotypes.
- Migration acts as a catalyst in bringing about social change. We all know that experiencing something first hand is much more impactful than just hearing about it. No matter how much the government and social organizations spread the message of family planning, girl’s education, etc. in rural areas, it has limited impact. But when rural people migrate to urban areas and experience the change themselves, it has much deeper impact on their psychology. So, new social idea dissipate from urban to rural areas through migration.
Negative social consequences:
- Excessive migration, living in crowded city slums among strangers also has deep negative impacts on the psychology of an individual. Imagine living in a village, filled with clean air and open, green fields. And then suddenly you are living in a cramped-up space, probably sharing it with others – no ventilation, poor quality water, etc. Over and above that lack of friends may cause a feeling of anonymity and social vacuum, which may push some towards crime, alcoholism, drugs, etc.
- Excessive migration of males from villages causes a workforce problem there, which forces women to work in the fields too (apart from working at home). This further accentuates the workload over them, and diminishes their growth potential.
- When women migrate to new places, especially new cities, either for higher education or employment, they start enjoying more autonomy and better socio-economic status in the society. However, these women are also the most vulnerable, especially in the initial few years.
Environmental Consequences of Migration
Excessive migration to mega cities often causes an issue of overcrowding and unplanned development (e.g. illegal colonies, slums, etc.). This in turn leads to an increase in the crime rate of the city and other social issues.
Excessive population also depletes the natural resources of that place in an unsustainable manner, e.g. in cities like Delhi and Mumbai people often face the problems of depletion of ground water, air pollution, improper disposal of sewage and challenges regarding management of solid wastes. Just observe how fast the ground water level in Delhi has dropped in the last few decades, or just have a look at the state of Yamuna (that passes through Delhi), and you will get a fair amount of idea.
Problems of Slums
As in most of the Indian villages there are limited employment opportunities (as mostly primary activities are performed in villages, e.g. farming), many villagers migrate to cities.
This makes our urban centres differentiated heterogeneous entities – there is wide difference in socio-economic, politico-cultural and other indicators of development (much more than villages and small towns).
At one side of the spectrum are high-rises, posh colonies, farm houses, etc. The rich and mighty living in these urban locations enjoy various fine things of life - wide roads, street lights, clean water supply, sanitation facilities, well-developed green belt, lawns/parks, good schools, play grounds, security and privacy.
On the other end of this wide spectrum are the slums and chawls. The poor working class of the city has to bear:
- poor infrastructure - shanty structures, insecure locations, unhygienic conditions, poor ventilation, lack of basic amenities like drinking water, light and toilet facilities, etc.
- overcrowding - densely packed houses, and narrow lanes pose a serious fire hazard. Every year many slums are burned down due to accidental fire in one of the dwellings. Overcrowding also has a negative psychological impact in the long run – no privacy, no feeling of security if your neighbours are not good, etc.
- bad culture – mostly poor people live here, that work in low paid, high risk-prone, unorganised sectors of the urban economy. Poverty leads to a lot of societal vices – crimes, alcoholism, drug abuse, sex work, etc. Even if you are a good person, and resilient enough to bear the challenges of your life, it will be hard to keep away from bad company in such places. The chances of you becoming a part of a delinquent gang, or getting harassed by one are very high. All this may lead to development of a feeling of apathy and ultimately social exclusion – the ingredients of a serious criminal life or suicide.
- poor healthcare - illness and malnourishment are rampant, but the quality of clinics and hospitals is poor.
- poor education – quality of schools and teachers here is generally poor, except maybe a few run by dedicated NGOs.