02.07.2013 - UNESCO Office in New Delhi

Internal Migration and Youth: The Missing Link

UNESCO recently commissioned a Discussion Paper entitled Internal Migration and Youth in India: Main Features, Trends and Emerging Challenges, in order to take stock of the latest available data on current trends in internal migration of youth in India.

Prepared by Prof. S. Irudaya Rajan, Centre for Development Studies (CDS), Kerala, the research findings reveal that out of a total population of 274 million youth in India, 92 million youth are internal migrants, i.e. one out of three Indian youth is an internal migrant (Census of India 2001).

The other staggering figure is that out of a total population of 326 million internal migrants, nearly a third belongs to youth (15-29 age group). Further, there has been an increase in young migrants from 67 per cent to 75 per cent of total internal migrants (NSSO 1993 and 2007-08).  Despite their increasing mobility and economic contribution, young migrants suffer from serious shortcomings in their human capital formation.  Young migrants face major disadvantages in education, employment and transition from education to employment, including limited access to skill training.

The research highlights that though the youth represents a potential demographic dividend, they remain absent from migration policies and labour discourse. The draft National Youth Policy (2012) identifies migrant youth as a target group, however it remains silent on the proactive measures to be taken to address the issues related to young migrants. Migrant youth need to be incorporated into the labour force through a three-pronged approach, including labour market reforms, greater investment in education and skill-training. Age-sensitive and gender-sensitive policies for migrants should be developed, and increased research should be undertaken on trends of education, marriage, gender roles and other social norms that affect migration of youth.

For full paper click here


For further information contact

Ms Marina Faetanini (m.faetanini(at)unesco.org)

Ms Rukmini Tankha (r.tankha(at)unesco.org)

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