New Data on Migration

Beginning Wave 21, the Consumer Pyramids Data Extraction Service provides detailed data on migration in and out of the sample households. CPdx data pertains to households surveying in the Consumer Pyramids Household Survey. The CPHS sample is large and is well spread across the country. These data therefore provide useful insights into the size and nature of migration in India. The panel nature of the CPHS sample and the fast-frequency with which the data are collected (every four months) make it possible to provide these insights.

Migration is one of the various statuses of a member.1 A member could have continued to reside in the household from the past Wave. Alternatively, a member could have left the household through migration (emigration), death or because the entire family residing in that household shifted (family shifted). A member can also join the household by migrating in (immigration) or through birth.2

Traditionally, CPHS captured some information on migration as a part of the maintenance of the member roster. From Wave 20, migration has attained greater attention. New fields have been added to understand migration in India.

CPdx benefits from this greater attention assigned to migration from Wave 21. The data presented is as follows:

  1. Members are now classified as Member of the Household, Emigrated, Immigrated, Dead or Family Shifted.3 Anyone that has been in the household in the present Wave and the immediately past Wave is a Member of the Household. Anyone that entered the household, other than through birth, since the last Wave is marked as Immigrated.4 This reclassification has been done retrospectively for all past Waves as well. This means that subscribers now have access to a long time-series of information on basic migration status at the household level.
  2. Immigrants and emigrants are both asked for reasons for their migration. While reasons for emigration were captured in the past, the list of possible responses has also been expanded for emigration.5 Reasons include employment, education, marriage and many more.
  3. The location from where the member has immigrated or where the member has emigrated. This includes State,6 District,7 and Region Type (rural or urban).8
  4. All current members of the household9 are asked about their future intentions to emigrate. This includes whether they expect to emigrate in the future,10 and if so, why,11 when12 and where.13

Our efforts to expand the migration module has benefited enormously by our interactions with users of such information. We gratefully acknowledge their contribution in making this module better focused in terms of the data fields being captured and also in identifying challenges during survey execution. All disclaimers apply. Errors if any remain, are solely the responsibility of CMIE.

Note that migration is not captured by surveying migrants in the place of their migration. It is captured incidentally from a large and representative sample of households. Some migrants live on construction sites and other work places. These migrants escape the attention of a household survey because they do not live in houses. Our attempt is to capture events of their return to their households or, the leaving of their households when they migrate. Hopefully, this will provide some indirect insights into migration in India.

A useful related data field in CPdx is the state of origin of every member of the sample household.14 This also provides a clue on the long-term migrations or the stock of migration in India.

New Indicators on Migration Since Wave 21
Indicator Name Indicator Description
REASON_FOR_EMIGRATION_IMMIGRATION Reason for emigration and immigration
EMIGRATED_IMMIGRATED_FROM_TO_STATE State from where a member has immigrated or State to which member will emigrate to
EMIGRATED_IMMIGRATED_FROM_TO_DISTRICT District from where a member has immigrated or district to which member will emigrate to
EMIGRATED_IMMIGRATED_FROM_TO_REGION_TYPE Type of region from where a member has immigrated or type of region to which member will emigrate to
WILL_EMIGRATE Will emigrate in the future
WILL_EMIGRATE_REASON Reason why member wants to emigrate
TIME_TO_EMIGRATE Time after which member will emigrate
WILL_EMIGRATE_STATE State to which member will emigrate
WILL_EMIGRATE_DISTRICT District to which member will emigrate
WILL_EMIGRATE_REGION_TYPE Type of region to which member will emigrate


1 This information can be found in the MEMBER_STATUS indicator.

2 Note that “birth” is not captured as a separate Member Status.

3 This is in the MEMBER_STATUS indicator. “Immigrated” is a new category since Wave 20.

4 Other categories are defined in the same manner as before.

5 This is in the REASON_FOR_EMIGRATION_IMMIGRATION indicator. This indicator replaces the old REASON_FOR_EMIGRATION indicator.

6 This is in the EMIGRATED_IMMIGRATED_FROM_TO_STATE indicator.



9 This includes those members who are either “Immigrated” or “Member of the Household” as per MEMBER_STATUS.

10 This is in the WILL_EMIGRATE indicator.

11 This is in the WILL_EMIGRATE_REASON indicator. It includes reasons similar to those found in REASON_FOR_EMIGRATION_IMMIGRATION.

12 This is in the TIME_TO_EMIGRATE indicator.


14 This is in the STATE_OF_ORIGIN indicator.

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