The next time Raj Thackeray launches a diatribe against outsiders, he might benefit by studying data showing that the proportion of migrants in Mumbai’s population has actually dropped to 43 per cent in 2001 from 64 per cent 40 years earlier, around the time his uncle began his tirades against outsiders.
This data comes from a study conducted in 2007 by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences on trends in migration to Mumbai. The study uses data from censuses conducted between 1961 and 2001. The census defines as a migrant any one who has changed his or her “usual” place of residence since the previous enumeration.
“Natural increase, i.e., the balance of births over deaths, added to the population more than migration,” explained Professor D.P. Singh, from the Institute’s Centre of Research Methodology, which carried out the study.
Still, some of the data might fuel Thackeray’s xenophobia further. Of the total migrants, the proportion from within Maharashtra dropped steeply to 16 per cent from 27 per cent in the same 40-year-period, while the proportion from other states dropped, but more mildly, to 26 per cent from 34 per cent.
Moreover, the proportion of migrants from Gujarat has dropped; from the four southern states it hardly changed; but from the northern states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh it has risen.
Still, all this data must be tempered by the fact that in absolute terms, the proportion of migrants from Maharashtra still remains the highest at 37 per cent. After this come Uttar Pradesh with 24.3 per cent, Gujarat with 9.6 per cent, Karnataka with 5.8 per cent, Rajasthan with 3.9 per cent, Bihar with 3.5 per cent, Tamil Nadu with 3.1 per cent, Andhra Pradesh with 2.4 per cent, Kerala with 2.2 per cent, and West Bengal with 2 per cent.