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Family and Migration

An important factor of migration is the family structure and family size. Many studies have shown that the migrants tend to come more from relatively larger families because of the pressure of the family hierarchy, limiting earning potential of the family, increasing social requirements of the family, higher dependency ratio, insufficient resources including the land to support the family members and family's kinship network both inside and outside the family of the sending village.

The rural Indian society consists of predominantly joint families that are often large in size .In such a family generally the head of the household or in his absence the eldest son in the family exercises economic and social control. The general feature of the Indian family is its patriarchal nature with an in built hierarchy of social statuses as against the equality or near equality of status in a nuclear family. In a joint family the principles of inheritance and maintenance of the family's tradition are considered as important correlates of migration from the household.

The principle of inheritance is combined with the birth order in the family being governed by the rule of primogeniture. When land inheritance and the perpetuation of family traditions are tagged with this rule a family not only tends to pull and impede migration but it also tends to push and promote migration. If a family tends to pull and impede migration it also tends to encourage migration to counteract the social pressures of dependency to increase the family's earning potentials to afford larger families to meet the increasing social demands and to enlarge the kinship network of the family. The family trains and prepares the younger generation for long distance out –migration. The close kinship ties tend to impede migration of the first generation but it pushes the successive generations to move out to better opportunities.

The siblings of those who have already moved out and started living in urban areas help others from the younger generation to move out and join them.The younger family members who are ready to move find the motivation and desire to join them and use their kin-contacts in urban areas. Thus a link –migration or a chain migration and a tradition of family migration develop. The extended joint family household prefers the younger generation to move out because due to its traditional authority of control, dependency and limited freedom it is conflict prone household.

Therefore there is always the possibility of friction and tension in the emerging quest for freedom and independency among the younger members of the family. They feel less integrated and perceive their roles as limited in the family and in the village community where the ascribed authority of the elder members has greater social significance. There is intergenerational gap in their perceptions and the role of the younger members in the decision making process in the family is limited. As a result of natural tendency to achieve greater social maturation there is growing desire among the young to move away from the family and community control to set up their independent nuclear households. The feeling of being marginalized and less integrated into the joint household pushes the younger members to move out. Thus they perceive migration as a social necessity. In a religion and caste-ridden community inter and intra family tensions and the conflict of relation ship in the neighborhood push family members to move out.

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