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Social Impact of Migration

One important consequence of rural out migration is the change in the value orientation of the migrants and its effects on their families left behind.

The migrants usually keep contact with their families to maintain personal links and family tradition. This is an important source of exchange of values between their traditional place of origin and relatively modernized destination.

The migrants are now exposed to the urban great tradition. It is through exposure that they imbibe new social and material values, new skills, experience, knowledge and an active way of urban life.

The internalized urban values are consciously transmitted and fed back into the native place through their contacts. They are required by and used for their family's social, cultural and physical progress.

The village community as a whole is also benefitted by the social and material gains of migration. But the village out migration reduces the manpower required for agricultural productivity.

At the same time it promotes rural development in addition to urban growth in terms of social prestige and the resource base of the village by way of spreading new urban values.

The capital generated by migration raises rural income stimulating technological change in the village. It also helps in developing the capacity of villages in improving the agriculture.

Migration has also changed the demographic profile of the rural areas. Since migration has a lowering effect on fertility behavior it has reduced the family size among the migrants as compared with the non-migrants.

It is higher in the rural areas where spouses live together rather than the separated family where the wife stays back in rural areas and husband goes to work in urban areas.

The change in the social status from non-migrant to migrant causes change in norms and values, attitudes and behavior, motivation and expectation, material and social status, social priority and change in the circle of interaction.

All these changes have a negative effect on fertility level and family size. It is due to these changes that the fertility level among the married but separated migrants is the lowest.

The fertility behavior of migrants' changes when migrants are exposed to the urban way of life. The modern urban influences stimulate them to accept new family norms, post pone child bearing and raise the age of marriage.

The migrants gradually stimulate their relatively younger siblings and the kins to migrate. This enlarges their family network that reinforces the traditional reproductive models among them in urban areas.

Another social consequence of migration is the change in the occupational status of the migrants. Migration ensures horizontal and vertical mobility and related changes.

The migrants in the new urban social setting are at an advantage and get diversified work opportunities but they are also in a disadvantageous position as compared to the urban folks for the available opportunities.

The urban folks are relatively better educated, trained, skilled, experienced and active. The migrants find it difficult to compete with them for better jobs.

The migrants from the lower socio-economic backgrounds are a work and earn oriented group without any occupational choice. Their urban employers on grounds of quality of education, skill, efficiency, caste and class backgrounds also discriminate against them.

An important social consequence of migration is its effect on the processes of acculturation and adjustment and integration of migrants in the receiving areas.

In the new urban setting the migrants get accultured into the urban ways of life and adjusted to it by their ability to participate and perform new roles and activities.

It is through these related processes that the new values, roles and cultural traits, behavior patterns and the new social conditions of living are acquired and internalized by the migrants.

They gradually become adjusted and integrated into the urban society. These processes act as medium of cultural transformation. They promote cultural adoption, adaptation and change in already internalized values of the place of origin.

The migrants of different class backgrounds find themselves between the two cultural patterns-the internalized culture of the place of origin and the culture of the place of destination to be internalized.

Among the upper class migrants there is no cultural tension between the two cultural patterns because of the similarities between the culture already internalized and the culture to be internalized.

Contrary to this among the lower class migrants there is clear conflict and social tension between the two because of the dissimilarities between the culture already internalized and the urban culture to be internalized.

The rural culture is already so deeply internalized by the rural migrants that it pushes them to remain ruralized in urban areas.

Within the community of migrants there are formal and informal social groups that are formed on regional, linguistic and religious lines but they cut across caste lines.

They also function to promote group interest. They organize religious functions of their respective religious groups.

The growth of social groups operating within the local communities of rural migrants in urban areas is a socio-cultural response of the migrants.

The highly localized and concentrated population of rural migrant communities has high physical and moral densities. They have a high intensity of their own social identities. This is politically helpful for the migrants to bargain, as vote banks to meet their immediate social need requirements.

It is also helpful to political parties to mobilize urban political support on the basis of social background of the migrant groups. Those identities affect not only the rural politics and rural political mobilization but also urban politics and mobilization.

The formation of rural migrant communities in the urban setting tends to create social and ethnic tensions due to clash of interests between the migrants and the locals. Such a situation sometimes tends to arouse social conflict and destabilize the urban space.

The overflow of migration largely from certain segments of rural population the high concentration of migrants over urban space, the growth of their rural type urban local communities and the segmentation of their internal structures on the basis of their ascription are important developments.

A systematic policy on migration and urbanization for a balanced urban growth needs to be drafted with a view to check the overflow of the rural to urban migration and to relocate local communities in a planned fashion so that they play a constructive role in urban development.