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Data Sources and Notes

Data sources:

The maps draw data from the following primary and secondary sources.

  1. 64th Round National Sample Survey (NSS) 2007-08 Survey on Employment, Unemployment and Migration data were analysed especially for this data mapping project (see details below).
  2. Census of India, 2001. Primary Census Abstracts for India (and respective states).
  3. Census of India, 2011. Primary Census Abstracts for India (and respective states).
  4. World Bank. 2014. Bilateral Remittance Matrix, Prospects: Migration & Remittances Data. (last accessed: 24-12-2014). (Data used for visualization is for 2013).
  5. R.B. Bhagat, Kunal Keshri & Imtiyaz Ali. 2013. Emigration and flow of remittances in India. Migration and Development, 2(1): 93-105. DOI:10.1080/21632324.2013.785255.
  6. Special District-Level Survey of International Migration and Remittances in Central Gujarat, India, carried out by NIAS and the Gujarat Institute of Development Research, Ahmedabad. For a summary of the survey findings and methods, see: Puja Guha and Biplab Dhak, District Level Survey of International Migration and Reverse Flows in Central Gujarat, ProGlo Research Report 7, April 2013.

Notes on NSS Data and Analysis:

  1. Estimating number of emigrants:

    The NSS Migration Reports give the total of number of international out-migrants based on estimated 2007 all-India population on page A-25 (for rural), page A-28 (for urban), and page A-31 (for total). For each region, the percentage of emigrants out of all emigrants is computed, and this figure is multiplied by the All-India emigrant figure to obtain a regional estimate. As the NSS underestimates total emigrant stock and especially that to the USA, the figures derived are only suggestive of a possible distribution across regions, especially regarding labour out-migration. Rural+Urban does not equal Total due to rounding errors. All survey based estimates use NSS survey weights.

  2. Sources of sampling errors:

    • Migration of entire households omitted in source region surveys: NSS picks up only 4.5 million emigrants for India as opposed to around 10 million emigrants ascertained from destination country data sources.
    • NSS surveys are known to under-sample richer households. Perhaps for this reason, the emigrant profile suggests that the data survey has picked up a large part of the labour migration to the Gulf, and misses much of the emigration stream to the USA.
    • Small sample sizes in many districts: NSS estimates are 20% lower than those based on the Kerala Migration Surveys, which had a larger sample coverage, and 50% lower of those based on the Goa Migration Survey.
    • Remittance amounts refer to ‘household remittances’ and omits various other types of remittances. (Refer to definition of ‘remittances’ in NSS Manual.)
  3. Social profile of emigrants:
    • All households are categorised into four social groups:
      • SC = Scheduled Caste
      • ST = Scheduled Tribe
      • OBC = Other Backward Class
      • Others
    • Religious categories include: Hindu, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Zorastrianism, Others.
    • Education: Higher Secondary+ = Higher Secondary, Diploma/certificate course, graduate, postgraduate and above

Definitions of terms used in these pages:

Emigrant - Out-migrant whose current place of residence is outside India (NSS definition).
Non-Resident Indian (NRI) - Indian citizen who ordinarily resides outside India and holds an Indian Passport.
Person of Indian Origin (PIO) - A person who (or whose ancestors) was an Indian national and who is presently holding another country’s citizenship/nationality.
Overseas Indian (OI) – A non-official category encompassing NRIs, PIOs, and other people of Indian origin living overseas.
(For more information, visit:

For a comprehensive bibliography on migration and remittances in India, see: India Migration Bibliography (compiled by Dr. Chinmay Tumbe).