Internal Migration for Education and Employment among Youth in India

A research paper titled “Internal Migration for Education and Employment among Youth in India” was released by the UN Habitat’s Global Urban Youth Research Network in Jan 2014. It maps the trend of in-country migration among youth for the purpose of higher education or employment. The salient findings of this report are as follows:

  • In the last 10 years, a total of 11 crore youth (aged 15-32 years) migrated within the country for education, employment or after marriage.
  • Of the 11 crore youth, over 70% moved on account of marriage. While nearly 10% shifted in search of employment, over 3.5% (37 lakh) did so on account of education. The share of educational migration has increased. This is partly due to the increase in government funded colleges like IITs, NITs, IIMs and private universities over the past decade.
  • To pursue education, more number of men migrated than women. Thus, out of 37 lakh, 26 lakh were men while 11 lakh were women.
  • Only 17% youth (6.2 lakh) out of total 37 lakh in the past 10 years migrated out of their home state while the balance 83% moved to another district within their state for higher education.
  • The most important states from the perspective of migration for education are Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal and Rajasthan. Of these states, Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka are the main destinations (i.e. attracting migrants from other states), whereas Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan are the main source states of migrants. Karnataka received the largest exodus — 1.8 lakh — from other states and Uttar Pradesh sent out most students — 1.1 lakh.

On the basis of these findings, the paper attempts to start a discussion on whether Indian states should worry about internal brain drain. It also raises a pertinent question whether Indian states receiving maximum migration are capable of providing enough jobs to students graduating out of their colleges.