Current Affairs

Great Indian migration: The Perspective

Disparity of TFR across states

  • Southern and western states (like Kerala and Tamil Nadu) have their Total Fertility Rates (TFRs) below the replacement level (2.1) while those in the north are still averaging well above the replacement rate

TRF and replacement level

  • Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of a population is the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime if:
    • She were to experience the exact current age-specific fertility rates (ASFRs) through her lifetime, and
    • She were to survive from birth through the end of her reproductive life
  • Replacement fertility is the total fertility rate at which women give birth to enough babies to sustain population levels.
  • The replacement fertility rate is only slightly above 2.0 births per woman for most industrialized countries, but ranges from 2.5 to 3.3 in developing countries because of higher mortality rates, especially child mortality

Youthful north

  • The demographic potential of India is mainly locked p in the north of India
  • The five northern states: Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh has the majority of the youth population of India
  • This demographic divergence between States and regions is important from the policy perspective and forward-looking development planning

Maturing south

  • The proportion of the elderly started increasing in the southern States several years ago.
  • Now, the phenomenon has extended to the western, extreme northern and eastern States
  • This change in population dynamics tends to increase the migration from north to south


  • Already there is movement of people from the north to economically better-off south in search of jobs and businesses
  • Apart from this, the young workforce from the north will be needed to not only to keep institutions running but also to take care of the elderly in the south

Challenges in migration

  • When young people move to the south, they leave behind children and the elderly. This need to be analysed and proper attention should be given to address their vulnerabilities
  • People who migrate find themselves in a place with a different language, culture, food habits. They need to overcome these differences and manage to find a place for themselves in the society
  • The issues of the locals must also be taken into account

Way forward

  • India urgently needs to take cognisance of the divergent demographic transition trends
  • This is so that estimations and projections can be made regarding changing need for housing and infrastructure, health care and utilities, education and skills
  • States need to work together to provide portability of identity proof and entitlements, as well as build support systems for families left behind.
  • Timely strategic action can develop human capacities to cater to future needs and build rights-based policies that work for migrants as well as locals
  • All of these add up to help optimise development, employment and collaboration across States in the country