Working paper / An Analysis of the Kerala Migration Survey, 2018

Rajan, S. Irudaya, and K. C. Zachariah. ‘Emigration and Remittances: New Evidences from the Kerala Migration Survey, 2018’. CDS Working Paper Series 483, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, January 2019.

Abstract (edited): Migration has become a worldwide phenomenon in the 21st century. Migratory tendencies have been inherent in the context of Kerala, and it has been shaping the economic and social situation. The economic boom within the Gulf countries gave migration a considerable boost, reaching its peak in terms of both numbers and remittances. Ironically, Kerala, of late, is witnessing a reverse migration of labour.

The Kerala Migration Survey (KMS) 2018 is the eighth in the series of studies on migration undertaken by the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) since 1998. The 2018 report sheds light on the various issues concerning migration and mobility. It gathers the fruit of two decades of research done at CDS and examines migration dynamics from demographic, economic, and sociopolitical perspectives.

The basic objectives of the survey are similar to earlier surveys in the series: to estimate migrants from Kerala to various destinations and vice-versa, their demographic and socio-economic characteristics, and to estimate remittances to Kerala. The report also postulates factors responsible for the fall of emigration from Kerala. The information given in the report is based on a large-scale sample survey of 15,000 households.

According to the study, there are 2.1 million emigrants from Kerala across the world, of which 15.8 per cent are females. However, there is a reduction of 3 lakhs emigrants during 2013-18, which is one-tenth of the 2013 emigrants. The estimated total remittances to Kerala is Rs.85,092 crores, and remittances to the state have increased. This is due to the fact that Keralites in the Gulf have climbed the social ladder and earn higher wages, allowing them to remit more. 

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