A Brief History of Migration and Remittances in India


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Did you know indoor plumbing was invented in the Indus Valley?

This invention, along with many infrastructural changes first implemented in Indian metropolises, allowed civilizations to flourish over millennia in the Indian subcontinent.

The result has been nothing short of outstanding, with present-day India possessing the second-largest population in the world despite ranking eight in extension.

Thanks to its long and widespread history, India’s cultural heritage is impressively varied. Currently, there 22 official languages, with English being considered a subsidiary official language.

In honor of India’s Republic Day being celebrated this Sunday, January 26, we bring you the newest installment in our Brief Histories series. Continue reading to learn all about migration and remittances in India below.


Indian migration

India has the highest volume of emigration in the world, with 17.5 million natives living abroad. According to the Pew Research Center, one out of every twenty migrants worldwide was born in India. The majority of Indian expats live in the United Arab Emirates (3.4 million), the United States (2.7 million), and Saudi Arabia (2.4 million). However, the country doesn’t suffer from a dwindling population as only immigrants comprise only 1% of the total.

Based on stats from the Migration Data Portal, India’s international migrant stock equals 5.2 million, 0.4% of the population. Most immigrants come from Bangladesh (3.1 million), Pakistan (1.1 million), and Nepal (533.6 thousand), all of which share a border with India. Thanks to the gender parity found among immigrants, with 48.8% being women, newcomers are likely arriving as part of a family unit.

The impact of remittances in India

Last year, India received an estimated US$82.2 billion in remittances equating to 2.8% of the county’s GDP. If this number seems exorbitant, it’s because it is. India is the top-remittance receiving country in the world, a direct result of the high volume of emigration.

In correlation with current migration flocks, the highest volume of remittances to India come from the United Arab Emirates (US$13.8 billion), United States (US$11.7 billion), and Saudi Arabia (US$11.2 billion).


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