Muslim migration up in Kerala, Christians lose

More and more Keralites are going abroad for jobs, and the highest migration increase is among Muslims.

The number of migrants abroad in 2011 was estimated at 2.28 million, up from 2.19 million in 2008, 1.84 million in 2003 and 1.36 million in 1998.

These are among the findings of the Centre for Development Studies here. It has come out with a fifth comprehensive study on international and internal migration from Kerala since 1998.

Remittances from migrants form more than 60 percent of Kerala's revenue.

The report said this stood in 2011 at Rs.49,695 crore, from Rs.43,288 crore in 2008.
The proportion of Hindus among the non-resident Keralites has shot up. It was 37.5 percent in 2011, and 29.9 percent in 1998.

The vast majority of the migrants in 2011 were Muslims (about 45 percent), although the community's share in Kerala's population was 26 percent.

While Hindus formed about 56 percent of the population, their share among the migrants was only 37.5 percent.

The gain among the Hindus was mostly at the expense of Christians, whose share shrank from 25.1 percent in 2003 to 17.9 percent in 2011.

The 2011 study is based on primary data collected from 15,000 households selected through random sampling covering all 63 taluks or sub-districts.

According to study researchers K.C. Zachariah and S. Irudayarajan, the main countries of destination for Keralites have remained unchanged over these years - 90 percent go to Gulf countries.

Nearly 40 percent of Kerala's migrants live in the United Arab Emirates and 25 percent in Saudi Arabia.

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