Size Does Matter: Migrant Experience of Urban Poverty across Different Size Class Indian Cities

Gayatri Singh, Brown University

By the year 2030, 590 million Indians will become urban residents, a figure twice the size of the United States population today. Indian demographers have expressed concern that urbanization process has become concentrated in larger cities. However, preliminary reports from Census 2011 not only point to increased rural-urban migration, but also a shift in rural-urban migration to smaller cities. This paper seeks to understand how rural-urban migrants are faring as urban residents. The analysis stratifies Indian cities in two categories—those with a population of one million or more versus other smaller cities. The findings demonstrate that rural-urban migrants are better-off in smaller sized cities as compared to the million plus cities, indicating that city size is associated with migrants' ability to succeed as urban residents. The paper concludes by discussing possible explanations for this finding and its implications for India's urban future.

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Presented in Poster Session 8