Patterns of Emigration from Kerala
THE rapid^rise in the number of emigrants from Kerala who have found lucrative employment opportunities outside has provided the basis for the argument that emigration1 of workers constitutes a solution to the problem of unemployment in the state. Such an argument though erroneous even when seen in terms of the proportion of emigrants to the unemployed, neglects the fact that emigrants do not constitute a homogenous group but come from widely varying economic and educational backgrounds. This paper makes an attempt to examine the emigration phenomenon in Kerala with the aim of delineating certain distinguishing patterns on the basis of a limited case study.
An examination of the migration figures furnished by the decennial Censuses in the past reveals two facts: one, the volume of net out-migration and the proportion of out-migrants to total population have been smaller in Kerala than in many other states;
and two, there is a concentration of educated out-migrants from Kerala in certain urban centres like Delhi and Bombay2. However, the Censuses do not^ furnish information on the number of emigrants of foreign countries. Migration to foreign countries has increased in recent years consequent to the rapid increase in job opportunities in the West Asian countries8 following the steep rise in