The Migration Trends

Over the last decade, India (with 1.4 billion residents) has witnessed one of the highest rates of internal migration, reaching over 50% of its population. Interstate migration is mostly driven by better economic opportunities and involves mostly men. Cities provide a range of employment opportunities – industries, transport, trade, and other services which attract migrants looking for employment. Therefore, increasing urbanization in India is a factor that drives migration. As a result we are confronted with radical changes in population densities across regions as well as in the lifestyle of the migrant populations.

In another example, Japan, for instance, has witnessed a continued urban migration ever since the early 19th century. This trend has picked up again since the burst of the bubble economy in the early 1990s, when housing became again available and affordable in the bigger cities. Urban migration hasn’t stopped for the past three decades. The declining total population is therefore primarily visible in peripheral areas, where communities are shrinking as well as rapidly aging.

NOTE: A net out-migrant state is one where more people migrate out of the state than those that migrate into the state.
Net-in-migration is the excess of incoming migrants over out-going migrants.

Sources: Census 2011; PRS.

Consequence: Social Isolation

On the one handin India again, urban migrants often face denial of basic entitlements, including access to subsidized food, housing, drinking water, sanitation and public health facilities, education and banking services. They often work in poor conditions devoid of social security and legal protection.

On the one hand, in Japan, rural migrants are confronted with declining urban services and job opportunities. Overall, they have very limited means to partake in the decision making process of rural and urban development that could sustain their long term settlement. Often, the seniority principle – which assigns importance to community members based on their age and years of experience, rather than on an equal basis or even based on their skills – applies with regard to structuring intra community hierarchies in rural environments.

While such environments are already confined by slow digitization and limited platform services because of their distance to the big cities, the rigid societal structures make it even harder to develop the inclusive and consensual based strategies that are required to overcome their societal challenges.

As a result, social isolation is a threat for many, aggravated by increasing longevity as well as declining marriage rates in some countries, and by the decline of multi-generational households in many big cities.

Overcoming these challenges of isolation, failing community cohesion and communication, requires strategic interventions which consider differently enabled users and the imperative of equal access to opportunities (such as provided by advances in technology)