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J Dev Areas. 1983 Jan;17(2):185-96.

Social networks in the migration process: empirical evidence on chain migration in India.



This study, based on interviews with 1615 migrant heads of household in Delhi, was concerned with interactions between labor migrants and their urban-based contacts. 86% of the rural migrants reported having relatives and/or covillagers living in Delhi at the time of their arrival, and virtually all received some form of assistance from their contacts. A preference for assistance from relatives rather than covillagers was noted, suggesting that migrants regarded kinship bonds as stronger than village and caste ties. However, covillagers tended to be contacted if relatives failed to secure a job for the new migrants within a reasonable time. The moves of only 17% of the sample could be classified under delayed family migration (relocation of family members in lagged stages). The tendency for traditional norms to be relaxed in an urban setting is reflected in the finding that the places of origin of migrants and their urban-based relatives differed in about half the cases that involved assistance from relatives. In addition, 13% of migrants violated traditional norms by seeking assistance from female agnates and kin affinally linked through these women. The most common pattern of assistance provided by both relatives and covillagers included room, food, and job search; however, new migrants tended to prefer to obtain board and lodging from relatives. Migrants helped by primary male agnates were twice as likely to receive money as those helped by other relatives. A consequence of chain migration is the concentration of persons from the same village or kinship network in particular occupations. 36% of the wage employees in the sample had relatives and/or covillagers working for the same employer. This suggests that migration induced by urban-based contacts (accounting for 42% of the migration in this sample) will be low if the sectors in which job opportunities are expanding are dominated by nonmigrants. Given the prevalence of chain migration, the contribution of migration to urban unemployment is likely to be fairly low.

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