Relevance of Mobility Transition Model in India

India is a large and diverse country. Most of its diversity is contributed by immigration. The Mobility Transition Model in India has great relevance. It has one of the oldest civilization in the world. India have not found any evidence of primitive men like in Africa and Europe. Therefore, it can be said that most of people in India have migrated from other regions. Since, India is a productive region, it has been a center of attraction for all its neighboring countries. Aryan immigration is first recorded even of migration to India. Later came the Kushans, Mongols, Mughals, British etc. Click Here for Waves of Migration in India.

Application of Mobility Transition Model in Indian Context

In first stage before the arrival of British, migration primarily took place from neighboring countries in form of invasions by Mughals, Afghans, Mongols etc. who settled in India. These were times when there was little border control. People migrated from rural to rural areas or from crowded villages to new territories. For example, Aryan brought Iron tools  in India which was very helpful in fast clearance of forested regions. The new settlements were formed in the newly cleared regions.

In second stage, British established many industrial and administrative towns. The people from rural areas came to urban areas for employment and livelihood. They discovered new regions. Hence, rural to urban migration and regional migration picked up. For example, people migrated to Bombay, Madras, Calcutta etc. from rural areas.

In third stage after independence, the rural to urban migration picked up due to heavy urbanization, industrialization and increase of literacy rate. E.g. the expansion of Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida conurbation is example of this stage. This stage has not ended yet in India. It is so because India is a large country and cities can not easily absorb such a large rural population. Therefore, small towns are cropping up and people continue to migrate from rural areas to these small towns.

The fourth and fifth stage also overlaps with third stage in India because urban to urban migration has also picked up, rich people commute from peri-urban estates to city centers. In parallel, the development of information technology has absorbed some of the potential migration.


  • India is a large country with a lot of diversity and disparity.
  • The migratory behavior of people reflects the impacts of caste, class and regional disparity.
  • Some people of upper class living in large cities might already experience fifth stage of mobility transition model.
  • Similarly, developed regions may be already in fourth and fifth stage while the poorer still linger in second or third stage.
  • Due to globalization, the international migration has also picked up up in states like Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Kerala etc.
  • Hence, different people of different regions and of different class/castes is in different stages of mobility transition in India.