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Is the push-pull paradigm useful to explain rural-urban migration? A case study in Uttarakhand, India.

08:00 EDT 2nd April 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Is the push-pull paradigm useful to explain rural-urban migration? A case study in Uttarakhand, India."

The present study explored the motivation of rural-urban migrants who moved from the Himalaya foothills of Uttarakhand to its capital city, Dehradun. A survey of 100 migrant families reported their socio-economic profile before and after migration, personal and general reasons for migration, problems in the village and in the city, and perception of push- and pull factors. A remote sensing-based analysis of land cover and forest changes was conducted for two villages of the migrants' origin, aiming to link the reasons for migration to land cover changes. This was contextualised by reported large scale changes in forest cover. Major reasons for migration mentioned in this study were education, employment opportunities with the associated income, and facilities. These were perceived as both, push and pull factors, whereas environmental factors ranked very low. Declining environment or agriculture were never mentioned spontaneously as personal reason, and only occasionally as a presumed general reason for migration, but were frequently confirmed as a major problem in the village. Thus, although such problems existed, they seemed not a major driver of rural-urban migration. For most of the respondents their migration resulted in a profound change of livelihoods and significantly improved their socio-economic situation. Land and forest cover around the chosen villages fluctuated by up to 15% with a trend to increasing forest cover in recent years. At the district and state scales, forest cover was rather stable. These results question the narrative of deforestation and environmental degradation in the Himalayas as major push-factors for rural-urban migration in Uttarakhand. Even if environmental constraints were felt, it was rather the differences in socio-economic opportunities (education, employment, facilities) that drove people to migrate to the city. Regarding the push-pull paradigm, we conclude that scenarios of external conditions under which people migrate cannot be evaluated without taking the migrants' attitudes and choices into account.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: PloS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
Pages: e0214511

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