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Social Effects of remittances from migration

The rural to urban migration is usually an individual migration in which the migrants mostly leave behind their families at home. The outmigration from rural areas is largely individual rather than family migration.

A substantial amount of remittances has gone back to the areas of origin of the migrants who left behind their families at home in the rural areas. Their places of origin in rural areas are characterized more by particularistic values, effectively of relationship, socio-economic backwardness, higher dependency ratio and strong family network, kinship and property ties. These characteristics are rooted in the structure of the rural society that the rural migrants carry with them to urban areas.

The income remitted by migrants is not just an economic aspect. It is a socio-cultural phenomenon because of its numerous social impacts on the family's resources, income, investment, consumption, saving patterns, social conditions of living, social prestige of the family and the structure of relationship within and outside the village community of the migrant.

The returns of migration received from the lower class rural migrants working in urban areas form the major source of family income of the migrants and is used largely on non-productive conspicuous consumption.

The resources remitted by the dominant class rural migrants are usually used for productive purposes like farming, purchase of land and agricultural implements etc. The class-based utilization of the income generated by and accumulated through migration has the social implications for the families of the migrants.

In case the migrants belong to economically dominant families the income generated by migrants and utilized by their families at home makes the dominant class families of the migrants socially and economically stronger. It consolidates their class position in the rural social structure.

In case the migrants come from poorer family backgrounds the income generated and utilized makes substantial improvement in social and material conditions of living of the families of the lower class migrants.

The income accumulated from migration enables the poorer class migrants to compensate the initial costs of migration.

The income from migration stimulates further migration among the lower classes. This tends to increase their spatial as well as vertical mobility among them.

The resources of migration promote the continuous social stake of the migrants in the village community because they enhance their living standards, social prestige and family's kinship solidarity.