Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Destinations of Male Outmigration and their Drivers in Indian Sundarbans


Economic liberalisation has created opportunities for semi-skilled labours within and outside India. This study investigates the male out-migration from the Sundarbans region of India with special reference to the choice of their destinations. Following a mixed-method approach, we collected data through a questionnaire survey, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, key-informant interviews, and Participatory Rural Appraisal. Analyses revealed that migrants tended to travel to diverse inland and even to overseas destinations on a fixed condition, facilitated by pre-existing support networks. The decision on choosing a destination is regulated by several micro-level determinants such as migration chronology, education, and acquired skill, life cycle stage of the migrants, the expected amount of remittance, the reason for migration, and nature of the job at the destination. The destinations abroad are often preceded by migration to inland destinations leading to higher acquired skill and savings. Joint families, having the ability to support international travel and access to support networks, were more prone to reach international destinations.


Male out-migration, Choice of destination, Correspondence analysis, Sundarbans



  1. Ali, S. (2007). ‘Go west young man’: The culture of migration among Muslims in Hyderabad, India. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33(1), 37-58. doi:10.1080/13691830601043489 DOI:
  2. Balica, E., & Marinescu, V. (Eds.) (2018). Migration and Crime: Realities and Media Representations. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature Switzerland AG. DOI:
  3. Barrientos, S. W. (2013). ‘Labour chains’: analysing the role of labour contractors in global production networks. The Journal of Development Studies, 49(8), 1058-1071. doi:10.2139/ssrn.1895292 DOI:
  4. Batista, C., & McKenzie, D. (2018). Testing Classic Theories of Migration in the Lab. Mimeo, Universidade Nova de Lisboa and World Bank. Retrieved on 12 December 2019 from
  5. Bauer, T., & Zimmermann, K. F. (1999). Assessment of possible migration pressure and its labour market impact following EU enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe (IZA Research Report No. 3). Retrieved on 14 March 2019 from
  6. Berger, M. C., & Blomquist, G. C. (1992). Mobility and destination in migration decisions: The roles of earnings, quality of life, and housing prices. Journal of Housing Economics, 2(1), 37-59. doi:10.1016/1051-1377(92)90018-l DOI:
  7. Brettell, C. B., & Hollifield, J. F. (Eds.). (2014). Migration theory: Talking across disciplines. New York, NY: Routledge. DOI:
  8. Brown, W. (2006). American nightmare: Neoliberalism, neoconservatism, and de-democratization. Political Theory, 34(6), 690-714. doi:10.1177/0090591706293016 DOI:
  9. Brown, T., Scrase, T. J., & Ganguly-Scrase, R. (2017). Globalised dreams, local constraints: migration and youth aspirations in an Indian regional town. Children's Geographies, 15(5), 531-544. doi:10.1080/14733285.2016.1274948 DOI:
  10. Crawley, H., Duvell, F., Jones, K., McMahon, S., & Sigona, N. (2016). Destination Europe? Understanding the dynamics and drivers of Mediterranean migration in 2015. MEDMIG Final Report. Retrieved on 17 September 2019 from
  11. Creswell, J.W. (2012). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research (4th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.
  12. Czaika, M. (2012). Internal versus international migration and the role of multiple deprivation: Some evidence from India. Asian Population Studies, 8(2), 125-149. doi:10.1080/17441730.2012.675678 DOI:
  13. Deshingkar, P. (2004). Understanding the implications of migration for pro-poor agricultural growth. Paper prepared for the DAC POVNET Agriculture Task Group Meeting, Helsinki. Retrieved on 2 March 2018 from /36562999.pdf
  14. Deshingkar, P. (2008). Circular internal migration and development in India. In J. de Wind, & J. Holdaway (eds.), Migration and development within and across broader: Research and policy perspectives on internal and international migration (pp. 161-188). Geneva and New York: International Organization of Migration; Social Science Research Council.
  15. District Human Development Report: South 24 Parganas. (2009). Development and Planning Department Government of West Bengal. Retrieved on 24 September 2015 from
  16. Fafchamps, M., & Shilpi, F. (2008). Determinants of choice of migration destination, World Bank Policy Research (CSAE WPS/2009-09). Retrieved on 22 December 2018 from
  17. Fawcett, J. T. (1989). Networks, linkages, and migration systems. International Migration Review, 23(3), 671-680. doi:10.2307/2546434 DOI:
  18. Fernando, M., & Giordano, C. (2016). Introduction: Refugees and the crisis of Europe. Cultural Anthropology, 28. Retrieved on 27 November 2019 from
  19. Ganguly-Scrase, R. (2003). Paradoxes of globalization, liberalization, and gender equality: The worldviews of the lower middle class in West Bengal, India. Gender & Society, 17(4), 544-566. doi:10.1177/0891243203254077 DOI:
  20. Gimpel, J. G. (1999). Separate destinations: Migration, immigration, and the politics of places. United Sates: University of Michigan Press. DOI:
  21. Greenwood, M. J. (1985). Human migration: Theory, models, and empirical studies. Journal of Regional Science, 25(4), 521-544. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9787.1985.tb00321.x DOI:
  22. Greenwood, M. J. (1997). Internal migration in developed countries. Handbook of Population and Family Economics, 1, 647-720. DOI:
  23. de Haan, A. (1999). Livelihoods and poverty: The role of migration‐a critical review of the migration literature. The Journal of Development Studies, 36(2), 1-47. doi:10.1080/00220389908422619 DOI:
  24. de Haan, A. (2002). Migration and livelihoods in historical perspective: A case study of Bihar, India. Journal of Development Studies, 38(5), 115-142. doi:10.1080/00220380412331322531 DOI:
  25. de Haan, A., & Rogaly, B. (2002). Introduction: Migrant workers and their role in rural change. Journal of Development Studies, 38(5), 1-14. doi:10.1080/00220380412331322481 DOI:
  26. de Haas, H. (2010). Migration and development: a theoretical perspective. International Migration Review, 44(1), 227- 264. doi:10.1111/j.1747-7379.2009.00804.x DOI:
  27. de Jong, G. F., & Fawcett, J. T. (1981). Motivations for migration: an assessment and a value-expectancy research model. In G.F. De Jong, & R.W. Gardner (Eds.), Migration decision making: multidisciplinary approaches to micro level studies in developed and developing countries (pp.13-58). New York: Pergamon. DOI:
  28. Harris, J. R., & Todaro, M. P. (1970). Migration, unemployment and development: a two sector analysis. The American Economic Review, 60(1), 126-142.
  29. Hoda Rahmati, S., & Tularam, G. A. (2017). A critical review of human migration models. Climate Change, 3(12), 924-952.
  30. Hoffman, D. L., & Franke, G. R. (1986). Correspondence analysis: graphical representation of categorical data in marketing research. Journal of Marketing Research, 23(3), 213-227. doi:10.2307/3151480 DOI:
  31. Hyll, W., & Schneider, L. (2014). Relative deprivation and migration preferences. Economics Letters, 122(2), 334-337. doi:10.1016/j.econlet.2013.12.023 DOI:
  32. ILO. (2016). India International Labour Migration Update. New Delhi: International Labour Organization.
  33. Islam, N. (1996). Dhaka: from city to megacity: perspectives on people, places, planning, and development issues (No. 1). Dhaka: University of Dhaka.
  34. Kaestner, R., & Malamud, O. (2014). Self-selection and international migration: New evidence from Mexico. Review of Economics and Statistics, 96(1), 78-91. doi:10.3386/w15765 DOI:
  35. Kelegama, S. (Ed.). (2011). Migration, remittances and development in South Asia. New Delhi: Sage Pub. DOI:
  36. Keshri, K., & Bhagat, R. B. (2013). Socioeconomic determinants of temporary labour migration in India: A regional analysis. Asian Population Studies, 9(2), 175-195. doi:10.1080/17441730.2013.797294 DOI:
  37. Knight, J., Thompson, A., & Lever, J. (2017). Social network evolution during long-term migration: a comparison of three case studies in the South Wales region. Social Identities, 23(1), 56-70. doi:10.1080/13504630.2016.1207511 DOI:
  38. Krieger, H., & Maitre, B. (2006). Migration Trends in an Enlarging European Union. Turkish Studies, 7(1), 45-66. doi:10.1080/14683840500520584 DOI:
  39. Lindquist, J., Xiang, B., & Yeoh, B. S. (2012). Opening the black box of migration: Brokers, the organization of transnational mobility and the changing political economy in Asia. Pacific Affairs, 85(1), 7-19. doi:10.5509/20128517 DOI:
  40. Massey, D. S., Arango, J., Hugo, G., Kouaouci, A., Pellegrino, A., & Taylor, J. E. (1993). Theories of international migration: A review and appraisal. Population and Development Review, 19(3), 431-466. doi:10.2307/2938462 DOI:
  41. Mistri, A. (2013). Migration and sustainable livelihoods: a study from Sundarban biosphere reserve. Asia- Pacific Journal of Social Science, 5(2), 76-102.
  42. Mosse, D., Gupta, S., Mehta, M., Shah, V., Rees, J. F., & Team, K. P. (2002). Brokered livelihoods: Debt, labour migration and development in tribal western India. Journal of Development Studies, 38(5), 59-88. doi:10.1080/00220380412331322511 DOI:
  43. Munck, R., Ulrik Schierup, C., & Delgado Wise, R. (2011). Migration, work, and citizenship in the new world order. Globalizations, 8(3), 249-260. doi:10.1080/14747731.2011.576553 DOI:
  44. Ozden, S., & Mendes, M. (2005). The usage of multiple correspondence analysis in rural migration analysis. New Medit, 4(4), 36-41.
  45. Pallister-Wilkins, P. (2016). Interrogating the Mediterranean ‘migration crisis’. Mediterranean Politics, 21(2), 311-315. doi:10.1080/13629395.2016.1145826 DOI:
  46. Phillips, N. (2011). Informality, global production networks and the dynamics of ‘adverse incorporation’. Global Networks, 11(3), 380-397. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0374.2011.00331.x DOI:
  47. Pieke, F. N., & Biao, X. (2009). Legality and labour: Chinese migration, neoliberalism and the state in the UK and China. Geopolitics, History and International Relations, 1(1), 11-45.
  48. Portes, A. (1997). Immigration theory for a new century: Some problems and opportunities. International Migration Review, 31(4), 799-825. doi:10.2307/2547415 DOI:
  49. Rajan, S. I. (Ed.). (2011). Migration, identity and conflict: India migration report 2011. New Delhi: Routledge. DOI:
  50. Ravenstein, E.G. (1885). The Laws of Migration. Journal of the Statistical Society of London, 48(2), 167-235. DOI:
  51. Rose, D. (2001). Revisiting feminist research methodologies: A working paper. Status of Women Canada, Research Division. Retrieved on 22 February 2018 from
  52. Roy, A. K., Singh, P., & Roy, U. N. (2015). Impact of Rural-urban Labour Migration on Education of Children: A Case Study of Left behind and Accompanied Migrant Children in India. Space and Culture, India, 2(4), 17-34. doi:10.20896/saci.v2i4.74 DOI:
  53. Saha, S., Goswami, R., & Paul, S. K. (2018). Recursive Male Out-migration and the Consequences at Source: A Systematic Review with Special Reference to the Left-behind Women. Space and Culture, India, 5(3), 30-53. doi:10.20896/saci.v5i3.289 DOI:
  54. Stark, O., 1991. The Migration of Labour. Cambridge & Oxford: Blackwell
  55. Sunam, R. (2015). In search of pathways out of poverty: mapping the role of international labour migration, agriculture and rural labour. Journal of Agrarian Change, 17(1), 67-80. doi:10.1111/joac.12136 DOI:
  56. Tashakkori, A., & Teddlie, C. (Eds.). (2010). Sage handbook of mixed methods in social & behavioral research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. DOI:
  57. Thompson, P. A. (1995). Correspondence analysis in statistical package programs. The American Statistician, 49(3), 310-316. doi:10.2307/2684206 DOI:
  58. Tobler, W. (1995). Migration: Ravenstein, Thornthwaite and Beyond. Urban Geography, 16(4), 327-343. doi:10.2747/0272-3638.16.4.327 DOI:
  59. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. (2011). Impact of Remittances on Poverty in Developing Countries. New York and Geneva: United Nations.
  60. Vertovec, S. (2002). Transnational Networks and Skilled Labour Migration. ESRC Transnational Communities Programme (Working paper WPTC-02- 02). Oxford, England: University of Oxford.
  61. Wahba, J. (2014). Return migration and economic development. In R.E. Lucas (Eds), International handbook on migration and economic development (pp. 327-349). UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. DOI:
  62. Warner, K., Hamza, M., Oliver-Smith, A., Renaud, F., & Julca, A. (2010). Climate change, environmental degradation and migration. Natural Hazards, 55(3), 689-715. doi: 10.1007/s11069-009-9419-7 DOI:
  63. World Bank. (2018). Migration and Remittances: Recent Developments and Outlook. Washington DC: World Bank Group. DOI:
  64. Yin, R. K. (2006). Mixed methods research: Are the methods genuinely integrated or merely parallel? Research in the Schools, 13(1), 41-4
  65. Zachariah, K.C., & Rajan, S.I. (2007). Economic and social dynamics of migration in Kerala, 1999-2004 : Analysis of panel data (Working papers, no.384). Trivandrum: Centre for Development Studies.
  66. Zhou, M., & Li, X. (2016). Cross-space Consumption among Undocumented Chinese Immigrants in the United States. Sociology of Development, 2(2), 158-182. doi:10.1525/sod.2016.2.2.158 DOI:
  67. Zuniga, V., & Hernandez-Leon, R. (Eds.). (2005). New destinations: Mexican immigration in the United States. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.


Download data is not yet available.