Migration in Nepal – Data and Trends

The GDP per capita income of Nepal is about 1160 USD which is ranked at 197 among 230 countries. Similarly, the unemployment rate in 2008 was estimated at 46 percent which is ranked at 195.

This nexus of extreme poverty and unusually high unemployment rate has resulted in a rapid emigration of labor migrants in Nepal. The rate of labor migration has rapidly increased in Nepal from 3.2 percent in 2001 to 7.3 percent in 2011. About 2 million people went abroad seeking foreign employment during 2011.

This is an effort to visualize the total migration from Nepal between 2008/09 and 2013/14.

[Note: All of the charts are interactive so, feel free to explore on your own with data and filters on the right. For best results, please view them on a larger screen such as desktop or laptop instead of mobile.]

Among the three geographical regions, Tarai accounts for the highest number of labor migrants, followed by Pahad.

Similarly, among the 75 districts in Nepal, the top ten districts with highest labor migration all lie in Tarai. These are:

  1. Dhanusa
  2. Mahottari
  3. Jhapa
  4. Morang
  5. Siraha
  6. Nawalparasi
  7. Saptari
  8. Sunsari
  9. Sarlahi
  10. Rupandehi

From 2008/09 till 2013/14, the number of migrants leaving Nepal has continued to increase.

Below is a comparison of the number of the migrants and total population in a district. In general, there is a linear relationship between the total population and the number of migrants, the exception being Kathmandu. Similarly, the five districts – Dhanusa, Mahottari, Jhapa, Morang, and Siraha have a disproportionately higher number of migrants as a share of its total population.


This work is part of a student media grant by the Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University.
To read more: see The Confict and Development Center at Texas A&M University.

Data Source: Government of Nepal, Ministry of Labour and Employment. Labor Migration for Employment A Status Report for Nepal: 2013/2014. (2014). Retrieved November 1, 2015 from Asia Foundation. Save




Puru Shah

Puru Shah is the founder of Madhesi Youth. For Madhesi Youth, he primarily writes about human rights issues and articles with an emphasis on data analysis & data visualization. His goal is to promote justice, equality, sustainable development, and youth empowerment in Nepal. Connect with Puru Shah on Twitter (@digitalsubway)