Migration Along Bengaluru’s Rural–Urban Continuum: Implications for Household Well-being and Climate Change Adaptation

Chandni Singh  | 2024 

The academic literature on internal migration in India has been limited to studies which either capture the well-being of migrants at home or destination. With rural–urban (R–U) boundaries blurring and peri-urban areas gaining economic importance, it is imperative to move away from such binaries towards a continuum approach. Using mixed methods, this paper examines the differentiated nature of migration—its drivers and outcomes—across a R–U continuum in Karnataka. Combining household surveys with focus group discussions and life history interviews, across Bengaluru, its periphery and two predominantly rural districts, which are a source of in-migration, we document the variegated nature of migration. We show that while migrants into Bengaluru enter mostly unskilled livelihoods, peri-urban migrants tend to work in the formal sector. We also show how migration decisions are shaped by climate variability, environmental change, and social and class identity; and these factors mediate differentiated outcomes of moving on household well-being. Our findings have implications for interventions aimed at strengthening household capacities to deal with climatic and non-climatic risks and regional climate-resilient development. We also highlight that enabling inclusive, climate-resilient migration requires comprehensive interventions targeting material and subjective well-being of migrating households and individuals.