«A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy Approved November 2014 by the Graduate ...»
environmental condition of the mountain zone is harsh: low temperature, snowy mountains and peaks. The hill zone has moist sub-tropical climate, but it is hilly: the altitude ranges from 610 meters to 4,877 meters. As a result of these unfriendly environmental conditions, there have been historically a large number of out-migrants from these two regions. For example, one of the surveys in the hill zone shows that about 87 percent of males looked for seasonal jobs away from their homes while, at the national level, about 25 percent of the population experienced migration in the 1960s (Whelpton 2005). The Terai zone, on the other hand, has humid tropical and sub-tropical climate in low altitudes. In the monsoon season, rainfall is enough to support the rich agricultural land of Terai, and consequently, agricultural productivity is much higher in the Terai compared to the other two regions. Due to this friendly climate and high agricultural productivity of the Terai as pull factors, the Terai has been the primary destination for internal migrants of the mountain and hill zones. According to the 2003 report by the Central Bureau of Statistics of Nepal, the control of endemic malaria in combination with a friendly climate and high agricultural productivity in the Terai region since the early 1950s drove internal migration from high land to lower land as well.
flow of people from upland goes primarily to the Terai. Consequently, population density has risen dramatically over time in the Terai. The population density (persons per km2) of the Terai changed from 85 in 1952/54 to 330 in 2001. The population density of the mountain zone, on the other hand, increased from 22 in 1971 to 33 in 2001, and the density of the hill zone increased from 99 to 167 during the same period. In other words, the overall population pressure has increased in all three ecological zones, but it has increased significantly more in the Terai zone.
Since climate and agricultural productivity have been two of the main causes of internal migration in Nepal over time, rural to rural migration has dominated the majority of internal migration for a long time, not rural to urban. In all three ecological zones (mountain, hill, and Terai), rural to rural migration consists of 68.2 percent of all internal migration in 2001 while rural to urban migration only occupies 25.5 percent (Central Bureau of Statistics 2003). This indicates that the majority of people are still seeking agricultural opportunities. However, the pattern over time shows that more and more people have migrated to urban areas, such as Kathmandu, Kaski, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur (Sill and Kirkby 1991). Looking at the main reasons of internal migration over time, in 1981, about 28 percent of internal migrants answered agriculture as their main reason of migration while about 18 percent of internal migrants picked agriculture as their main reason in 2001 (Central Bureau of Statistics 2003). Yet, it should be emphasized that the main flow of internal migration has been to the Southern part of Nepal, which indicates that most Nepali still look for available and rich land that guarantees better income than a poor peasant farmer (Sill and Kirkby 1991).
Historically, Nepal has received many immigrants from the Northern part of India and the Southern part of Tibet due to geographical intimacy. The diverse ethnic composition of Nepal would explain this historical migration in the past (Massey, Axinn, and Ghimire 2010). The recent pattern of international migration since 1950 has been affected by several factors. First of all, the border between Nepal and China became closed since 1950, while the border between Nepal and India has remained open.
Especially the provision in the Nepal India Treaty of 1950 in Article VII drove the significant flow of international migration between two countries (Central Bureau of Statistics 2003). The Article VII guaranteed the nature of residence, ownership of property, participation in trade and commerce, movement and other privileges of a similar nature for the people from both countries. As a result, most of the foreign born populations in Nepal are from India, about 96 percent since 1961, and concentrated in the Terai zone. And the most popular destination among international migrations from Nepal has been India with over 70 percent of total emigrants since 1952 (Central Bureau of Statistics 2003). One additional factor that affected this migration pattern to India on a large scale was the fact that people in the hill zone preferred to migrate to India rather than migrate to the Terai zone due to the fear of endemic malaria in the Terai regions before the early 1950s.
Second, due to the high population growth, the Nepal government initiated a Family Planning program since the mid-1960s and the formulation of a Population Plan and Policy during the period of 1975-1980 to regulate the flow of international migration
migration has continued to thrive.
Third, the national economic plan which dates from 1956 encouraged international migration as well as internal migration. There have been seven plans between 1956 and 1990, and all of the seven plans focused on three goals: a significant increase in gross domestic product (GDP), building the infrastructure for the development, and political stability (Sill and Kirkby 1991). The improvement in transport and communication systems remained as the core part of the plans until 1974 since the developments in major infrastructure are visible and measureable (Sill and Kirkby 1991).
Better infrastructure, especially better transport and communication systems, enhanced Nepal population’s mobility, internally and internationally. As a result, the overall number of international migration has increased significantly from 198,120 in 1952/54 to 762,181 in 2001. However, the proportion of individuals absent from Nepal relative to the total population stayed still around 3 percent during the same period, and the proportion of international migration to India has gradually decreased over time. This indicates the emergence of new destinations for Nepali emigrants, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Gulf countries, and East Asian countries (Central Bureau of Statistics 2003). This new migration pattern also indicates a brain and brawn drain out of Nepal in recent years.
Remittance from Migrants There is a high interdependence between remittance and migration at the internal and international level (Connell and Conway 2000). The overview of internal and international migration in Nepal shows the large on-going flow of people in and out of
reasons of migration for households confronting poverty, especially in rural areas, the remittance from migrants would affect the lives of remaining families in origin areas (Seddon, Adhikari, and Gurung 2002). According to the study of Seddon et al. (2002), of the whole remittance value to rural households in Nepal in 1995/6, about fifty-five percent of remittance is from international migration, and the rest forty-five percent is from internal migration to urban or rural areas of Nepal. By gender, the major portion of remittance (more than eighty percent) is from sons rather than daughters. This implies that migration is male dominant in Nepal. Considering that international migration needs more financial resources to make it happen, the number of migrants is smaller for international migration. However, the fact that the remittance value from international migrants is larger than the one from internal migrants indicates the large size of remittances from foreign countries.
This value of remittances, however, is significantly underestimated in Nepal.
Substantial numbers of people migrate illegally, and a big portion of the remittances from migrants are coming to Nepal through illegal routes. These informal routes are called “hundi” system (Seddon et al. 2002). According to their conservative estimates from the data in 1996, the size of remittances from international migrants was expected to be about $574 million, instead of about $50 million which was the official estimation. This huge gap is possibly due to the fact that about 75 percent of remittances are transferred by person and 2 percent by hundi system according to the Nepal Living Standards Survey
2004. Only two percent of migrants used financial institutions such as a bank. But this does not mean that the size of remittances from internal migration is small. In 1996, over
migrants (Seddon et al. 2002). In 2004, however, the total value of remittances from urban or rural migrants consisted of only about 8 percent while the one from international migrants comprised ninety-two percent (Central Bureau of Statistics 2004). Because of this, the share of remittances in total income among remittance receiving households increased from 27 to 35 percent in 2004. The number of recipients also increased from 23 percent in 1996 to 32 percent in 2004. Furthermore, the total value of remittances increased significantly from 13 billion NRs to 46 billion NRs. By ecological region, in the Terai in 2004, about 43 percent (compared to Hills 48 percent) of households received remittances, and about 38 percent (compared to Hills 34 percent) of total income was from remittances (Central Bureau of Statistics 2004). This implies the increasing significance of international migration and remittances for the livelihoods of people in Nepal. Considering that the dataset for this dissertation covers from 1996 to 2006 and later, this pattern of remittances would be emphasized and considered carefully for the interpretations of the results.
How people use this increasing value of remittances is the next question.
Remittances could be used in many ways at the household level. Previous studies argue that the primary uses are consumption objectives, which has been seen negative to the economy of the receiving regions and the households, such as conspicuous consumption (Karpestam 2012; Jokisch 2002; Conway and Cohen 1998). However, Connell and Conway (2000) insist that non-economic utilities should not be ignored and are as important as economically ‘productive’ goals. Thus, the livelihood of households should be considered when it comes to the ways of spending remittances. Based on the contexts
strategies: family and dependent basic needs (e.g., food, cloth, or health), savings, human capital investments (e.g., education or welfare), location-specific capital ventures (e.g., land, house, or business property), diversified micro-economic investments (e.g., small shops), community support realizing social capital, and reproduction of migration. The priority goes to the one with the most immediate needs and is decided by the size of the remittance. For example, building a new house for the new family would not come before the remittances satisfy the basic needs of the household. When money is being accumulated over time through savings, or when the size of the remittances is big enough, the household would think about the next necessities, such as education of a child, remigration, starting a small shop, and so on. The analysis results of Airola (2007) in the context of Mexico in 2000 show that the households receiving remittances spend it more on durables (e.g., domestic appliances or furniture), health care, and housing and less on food compared to the households not receiving remittances. He argues that this is the evidence that remittances are used more likely for investment rather than consumption as argued by some of the previous studies.
To summarize, the implications of the recipient strategy framework by Connell and Conway (2000) are that remittances is one of the central parts of the understanding of migration effects; and that the size of available remittances and the socioeconomic status of a household at the time of migration should be considered to understand how migration affects agricultural and energy transitions.
There has been increasing recognition of the importance of the interrelationship among environment, migration, and socioeconomic development over the last few decades. Despite the importance, however, not enough attention has been given to the multidirectional relationships between them (Hugo 2008). Among all areas of studies, demographic studies especially tend to have focused on the relationship between environment and migration.
We first look at the research on the effects of environment on migration. There is an increasing number of studies exploring this relationship. In general, it is about “environmental refugees.” Yet, this concept is still unclear for several reasons. First, environmental factors are difficult to be separated from other factors; second, finding the line between forced and voluntary migrations is difficult; third, migration is becoming a more and more complex event (Dun and Gemenne 2008). To overcome these limitations,
Bates (2002) suggests a few ideal types of criteria that categorize environmental refugees:
whether it is natural or anthropogenic, acute or gradual, or intentional or unintentional (Bates 2002). Then, migrants in each group could be categorized into three types of disruptions: disasters, expropriations, and deterioration. Rapid changes consist of natural disasters and expropriations, such as hurricane, tsunami, nuclear meltdown, or dam building. Gradual changes comprise the decrease in soil, water, or air qualities, which are linked to environmental deterioration. Since gradual changes includes the whole complexity of migration decisions (Bates 2002), and rapid changes are more visible and instant compared to gradual changes, migration by gradual environmental deterioration has been relatively understudied. There have been other important studies trying to find