Impact of Migration on the Socio-Economy in the Dry Zone of Myanmar

Master's Thesis, 2018

79 Pages, Grade: 4.14


Table of Contents







Chapter I
1.1 Background of Research
1.2 Literature Review
1.3 Questions of Research
1.4 Objectives of Research
1.5 Research methods and materials
1.6 Outline of Thesis

Chapter II
Conceptual framework of migration
2.1 What is migration?: Characteristic of migration
2.2 General theories of Myanmar migration compare with other countries
2.3 Impact study of migration on different economic and social indicator
2.3.1 Impact study of migration on Income
2.3.2 Impact study of migration on Expenditure
2.3.3 Impact study of migration on Education
2.3.4 Impact study of migration on Health
2.3.5 Impact study of migration on labor problem and crop production
2.4 Methodology of migration
2.5 Pull and push factors of migration

Chapter III
Migration and socio-economic situation in Myanmar
3.1 Economic performance of Myanmar concerning with FDI and ODA
3.2 Migration in Myanmar
3.2.1 General view of migration pattern in Myanmar
3.2.2 Major migration flows and their roles in rural Myanmar
3.2.3 Myanmar migration policies

Chapter VI
Impact of migration on socio-economy in the dry zone of Myanmar:
A case study
4.1 Background information
4.2 Data source and collection methods
4.3 Review of household members and migrants
4.4 Impact of migrants on the livelihood of households
4.5 Summary of study area

Chapter V
5.1 Major Findings
5.1.1 Migration and situations of migrants in Myanmar
5.1.2 Socio-economic situations of migrants in Myanmar
5.2 Policies implications to Myanmar
5.2.1 Improvement for livelihoods of the rural community
5.2.2 Recommendation for livelihoods of the rural community



First and foremost, I would like to express my deep and sincere gratitude to my academic supervisor, Professor Dr. Masahiko MATSUDA, for his patient guidance, encouragement and advices he has provided throughout this research. I have been deeply lucky to have a supervisor who cared so much about my work, and who responded to my questions and queries so promptly. I am also extremely grateful to Professor Haruyuki SHIMADA, for his friendship, empathy, great sense of humor, invaluable suggestions and comments during the oral presentations.

I am also wish to express my special appreciation and thanks to all professors from Ritsumeikan University for their kindly and enthusiastically teaching to complete all of my course-works.

I am also grateful to the funding received through Monbukagakusho Scholarship Program of the Government of Japan to take my Master degree.

My deep appreciation goes out to the field research team members: Khin Thin Thin Mar, Saw Nyo Nyo Thin, Khaing Thazin Oo, Kyu Kyu Wai and Htet Htet Aung. Their excellent work during data collection has made an invaluable contribution towards my Master degree. I am also grateful to them – for their friendship and the warmth they extended to me during my time in the field survey.

Great encouragements, supports and understanding came from my beloved families and Mr. Paing Htet Oo are very invaluable for my study. They are always believing in me and encouraging me to follow my dreams and helping me in whatever way they could encouragement, support and taking care during this challenging period.


Migration is recognizing as a universally popular trend around the world. The roots of migration are the economic, social, political, cultural, environmental, health, education and transportation. Moreover, it is important in the socio-economic development and population growth of a country, mainly for the providing of occupation and social amenities to the migrants and their relatives. Agriculture is the main livelihoods in rural areas of Myanmar; farm labors are major source of employment opportunity for farming however their socio-economic status is still lower. Moreover, the socioeconomic status of farmers has been more adversely affected by the unpredictable climate changes, natural, disasters and others, year after year. For that reason, Myanmar rural nationals are practicing migration as their income diversification strategies to solve their economic and social status as like other developed and developing countries. As a result, this research aims at to examine the socio-economic characteristics of migrants and to extract the significant features of pull and push factors of migration in rural area of Myanmar.

This paper investigated impact of migration on socio-economy in rural area of Myanmar whereas case study conducted in Kyaukpadaung township, dry zone area in September 2017. Moreover, secondary data collected from concerned Ministries, United Nations agencies and related scholars and websites. Data collection conducted about 12.02 % of total households from six sample villages through household survey and field observations. Findings from the study showed that about one fourth of household members were migrants who were mostly young and active men. The youngest age at initial migration was 15 years. Their education levels were mostly secondary and migrated in the years of 2005. Common migration was international (cross-border migration) following by internal (rural to urban out-migration). Remittance of migrant was significantly high and it was about half of total households’ income.

In study area, the push factors of migration were mostly associated with weed problems, low labor wages, climate change, few job opportunities in and around village, food insecurity and debt. The pull factors were resulted better economic and employment opportunities, high income and better living standard of new destination places. As the positive view of migration, the remittance was mainly affected for their socio-economic status. On the other hand, the original resident areas faced the labor shortage problem in farming especially during the peak season. Concerned Ministries and especially Department of rural development (DRD) should be effectively implemented the laid down policies. In the study area, people from the agriculture sectors are more migrated than non-agriculture sectors. Moreover, DRD and non-government organizations are providing the more credit loan for the development of agriculture and livestock sectors.

Key words: Myanmar, Migration, Remittance, Dry zone, Rural area, Socio-economic, Migrant, Impact, Pull and Push factors


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1.1 Background of Research

Myanmar’s total population is 51.48 million and 70 percent of the population lives in rural areas (Population and Censuses, 2016). Naturally, Myanmar is an agricultural country and is enriched with many precious natural resources such as jade, natural gas, oil, arable lands and plenty of water resources (FAO, 2017). Development of the agriculture sector is the backbone of the country economy (FAO, 2017). Meanwhile, agriculture is the main industry of the country, contributing 60 percent of the country’s GDP and accounting for 25 to 30 percent of total export earnings and employing for 70 percent of the rural labor force. Therefore, agriculture is their main means of livelihood (FAO, 2017). Agriculture is the major source of income and employment in rural areas, farm labor is a major source of employment opportunity for farming however farmers desire to escape from the low level of socio-economic status. The farmers’ socioeconomic status has been more adversely affected by the aspect of unpredictable climate change, natural, disasters and others. In particular, the result of climate changes that have taken place almost on annual basis in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in 2008 led to tremendous damage and losses in agriculture sector (FAO, 2017). To solve these problems, people feel they must migrate from one place to another. So, migration has become the crucial alternative for rural people.

Moreover, farming activities are gradually becoming unattractive for rural people because there are unfavorable conditions such as unstable crop production, inadequate credit, and climate change conditions. Nowadays, due to the impact of climate change, depletion of the forests and trees are threatening the human communities. Therefore, people try to search new environments to solve their daily livelihoods and build a prosperous social civilization. Under such situations, most of the households commonly practice income diversification strategies, including labor migration. As migration is becoming the crucial alternative for rural people’s livelihood and the internal and external migrations are becoming most important issues among communities and they may convert as a particular consideration for alternative economic development of an agro-based developing country.

Migration is the changing the habitation of people from one place to another and generally related with alteration of permanent places of residence. While the principle reason for Myanmar migration is poverty in rural area in which is broadly affected by the departure of well qualified human resources, mainly in the areas of social welfare such as health, education, economy and infrastructure development. Worldwide, the relationship of countries to migration is increasingly complicated. Mostly in rural areas of agro-based developing countries, migration and agricultural production are vital issues for livelihood of households however the relationship between migration, agriculture crop production and rural areas development has become an interesting argument in the study of socioeconomic development. Baker. H. E (2014) mentioned that socioeconomic status (SES) is defined as measurement of a person economic and social rank and positively related with better health. It focuses on three common dimensions of socioeconomic status; education, income, and occupation.

People create a safe and secure atmosphere where they can live with dignity and equality. Therefore, migration and development processes are highly interdependent upon rural inhabitants. However, some are distaste for moving to developing areas because they are enamored to settle in indigenous area and by contrast, development processes are significantly different (Lerch, 2016). Due to migration, migrants can earn more income so they can raise their living standards. Moreover, they can easily communicate with international organizations for their job opportunities (Lerch, 2016).

The push factors of rural migration were mostly associated with declining opportunities in agriculture because of unfavorable weather condition, job scarcity, low wages and social problems. The pull factors of migration to other places were better economic and employment opportunities, high income and better living standard of new destinations (Kainth, 2009, pp. 82-116). Regarding the household income, remittance was significantly high and it was about half of total households’ income. Moreover, people received benefit in development processes such as advancement, empowerment and improvement for their future, increasing human capabilities, enlarging the opportunities of human choices, human rights, better health care and higher education (Crow, 2010, p. 16).

As a positive view of migration, the remittance is used mainly for agricultural investment for their crop and livestock production. On the other hand, due to impact of migration, there have many challenges such as the labor shortage problems, for example, in farming especially during the peak season, unskilled female and child labor is found in the agriculture sector, the cost of labor is high.

Positively, migrants can interact with others whose behavior originate within one country and can be targeted toward members of other countries combining political science, economics, history, foreign languages, and other fields. Consequently, their lives might be changed from before and after when they have acquiring all these abilities. Nearly half of these migrants are economic migrants, such as skilled and unskilled workers with a large amount of them also being characterized by their respective family members (Rudiger & Spencer, 2003).

Internal and external migrations are closely connected to international relation. Among them, students include as another significant category of international migrants. In addition, in the end of 2016, there are about 25.9 million the international refugees and asylum seekers in the world are leaving from their country of origin, it represents 10.1per cent of all international migrants (UN, 2017).

Connections, communication and collaboration with international societies could become important window in throughout of their life. It is expected to discovery a conforming increase in demand for graduates from the field of international relations (IOM, 2011). Meanwhile, majority of migrants and refugees is temporary, seasonal or circular; others are more permanent and come to stay. That is why, in the long term effect, migration may create a serious problems for the nation (IOM, 2011).

Currently, Myanmar government is leading by the National League for Democracy (NLD) Party from April 2016. On July 29th 2016, they revealed the 12 points economic policy (Kyaw, 2016). Among them, the government said that it will emphasis on employment opportunities to alleviate internal poverty and disparity of social welfares, income gaps and so encourage migrant workers to return from overseas to their indigenous country (Kyaw, 2016). Most employments are being created in special economic zones, agro-based industries, small enterprises industries, traditional weaving, and handicraft including 10 PANs (10 kinds of Myanmar arts and handicrafts), vocational education, and implementation of rural infrastructure development schemes particularly in rural areas for indigenous people (Kyaw, 2016).

In addition, to upgrade the socioeconomic welfare of farmers and rural communities, the government contribute a complete, reasonable food and nutrition is secured and allowing a sustainable agricultural development systems, and also supporting to further the development national economy (MOALI, 2016). Therefore, they will support much assistance to the agriculture and livestock areas to promote inclusive growth, develop food security, increase exports, and boost social welfare of rural communities (MOALI, 2016). Moreover, they will give opportunities to rural people and agribusiness enterprises earning profits from their production of agricultural products and safe and nutritious foods using innovative ways and sustainable development systems, and logistics and marketing technologies to meet the growing domestic and global demands (MOALI, 2016). Additionally, they will provide effective ways of processing and packaging systems for their products to explore the international market (MOALI, 2016).

Therefore, farmers will be given freedom to produce, while the government provides advanced technologies, good agricultural practices, new innovative methods, high value-added crops with agricultural expansion programs in compliance with the alternating of market system and the prevalent agro-climatic situation of the area improved (MOALI, 2016). Among them, agriculture, livestock and fishery products are also necessary to satisfied and matched in markets by enhancing their quality and standard. As a result, farmers will build successful social welfare systems, more access revenues, land occupation will be strengthened and improvement of their production chain sectors will be attained. Therefore, migration plays a critical role in the economic development of a country (MOALI, 2016). As a result, this study aims at to examine the socio-economic characteristics of migrants and to extract the significant features of pull and push factors of migration in rural area of Myanmar.

1.2 Literature Review

Early twenty-first century, migration is defined as one of the global issues, as more and more people are moved from anywhere in human history. According to (2018), the size of the world population was 7.6 billion. In 2015, there were about 244 million people living outside from their place of birth, which is about 3.3 percent of the world’s population. (United Nations Population Fund, 2015). Meanwhile, roughly one of every thirty-five people is a migrant in the sphere. Among 1965 and 1990, the numbers of international migrants are increased by 45 million which is an annual growth rate of about 2.1 percent. However, the annual growth rose up to 2.9 percent in 2010 (IOM, 2010).

According to Kyaing Kyaing Thet (2012), various researchers observed and studied that the migration for different purposes. From the perspective of Sociologists, they have highlighted on the social and ethnic results of migration. Whereas Geographers have emphasized on significance of migration base on the time and distance of it, scientists from economic field focus migration on the feature of economy. Therefore, there are generally four categories which motivate people to move and they are economic, population density, socio-cultural and political factors.

The main causes of migration are to elevate living standard and to advance better access of modern facilities. This shows that it is required to promote the living standard of persons in rural communities and to arrange for better community facilities (Kyaing Kyaing Thet, n.d., p. 8). These findings underscore that rural people cannot receive the same modern facilities as urban people and so it is necessary to implement employment for them and also to promote social benefit in rural areas of Myanmar.

According to Brees (n.d), the presence of migrant people can cause a security problem in the host country, but it may be affected on a political, economic, social and environmental level. For example, large number of refugees lack cash in a weak bargaining situation. At that time, they are preferred to accept lower wages, which may have caused a detrimental effect on the wages and employment rates of the native population. As a result, indigenous country of migrants have disparities of socio-economic and fundamentally lack of human resources for country development.

According to Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) mentioned that “Firstly, food is necessary to the existence of man. Furthermore, the passion between the sexes is necessary, and will remain nearly in its present state.” Therefore, he argued that if the population is significantly increased, there may be shortage of food to feed everyone. This would be terrible conditions, such as starvation, disease, fight to each other and enforcement of migration. Large flows of migration imply sadness for each other. Migrate persons will depart with their families members, friends, relatives, their indigenous land and so on. They will also have many challenges to investigate a settlement in inexperienced foreign countries. In that places where they are going, some have great advantages for them but some may be caused dangerous conditions. As a result, rapid population growth due to migration threatens the earth by causing shortage of food, water, poverty, and environmental devastation (Dickson, 2017, p.8).

One study state that between 1986 and 2006, the impact of migration on economic growth for 2 2 OECD countries reveals a positive impact but properly small one of the human investment transported by migrants on economic growth. The involvement of migrants to human capital accumulation tends to respond mechanical dilution consequence (i.e. the impact of residents enhance on capital per worker), but the net effect is quiet small, involving of highly selective migration policies countries. (OECD, 1996).

According to 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), the issues of international migration and its relation to development has gradually ascended on the agenda of the international community. Moreover, according to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it not only comprises many aims related with migration, but also assists nations to disaggregate targets by, inter alia, migratory situations (United Nations, 2015).

According to Dickinson (2017) mentioned that the consequences of migration effects are not only positive but also negative. Migration can create important revenues shared by the countries of origin and migrants themselves. In Africa, migrant remittances constitute an important source of hard currency, permitting a country to acquire vital imports or to pay foreign debts. These can also impact on economic, social, cultural and environmental conditions of the indigenous countries. Migration tends to decrease of human resource development in migrant countries of origin, particularly in health and education sectors.


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Impact of Migration on the Socio-Economy in the Dry Zone of Myanmar
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Internatinal Relations
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Lin Thiri (Author), 2018, Impact of Migration on the Socio-Economy in the Dry Zone of Myanmar, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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