Causes of Rural-Urban Migration

Rural-urban migration is the movement of people from rural areas to urban centers in search of employment and better living conditions among others. Rural-urban migration is most prevalent in developing countries. Rural-urban migration is facilitated by pull and push factors that forces people influx from countryside to cities. Push factors includes; drought, famine, natural disaster, poor living conditions like housing, healthcare and education, agricultural change, unemployment, war and conflict.
Pull factors includes; employment, higher incomes, better healthcare and education, urban facilities and way of life and protection from war and conflict. Although rural-urban migration is an integral part of development it is significant for people to understand its causes and consequence for formulation and implementation of effective policies to encourage economic growth. Rural urban migration being flexible and dynamic phenomena cause diversification with a certain degree of commitment. People migration links people transferring them from low opportunities to high opportunities.
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Introduction
Rural-urban migration is the movement of people from rural areas to urban centers in search of employment and better living conditions among others. Rural-urban migration is prevalent in developing countries with its degree varying from country to country. Rural-urban migration influences urban growth with expansion of cities and towns covering greater land. As a result of rural-urban migration there is urbanization referring to increase in proportion of people’s living in cities and towns.
Rural-urban migration is facilitated by pull and push factors that forces people influx from countryside to cities. Push factors may include drought, famine, natural disaster, poor living conditions like housing, healthcare and education, agricultural change, unemployment, war and conflict. Pull factors include employment, higher incomes, better healthcare and education, urban facilities and way of life and protection from war and conflict (Goldscheider, 19). Cause of Rural-Urban Migration Costs of rural-urban migration outweigh benefits resulting in expansion of cities and towns thus excessive urbanization.
Urban planners and decision makers are more concerned with causes and consequences of rural-urban migration and their relationship with economic growth and urbanization. Although rural-urban migration is an integral part of development it is significant for people to understand its causes and consequence for formulation and implementation of effective policies to encourage economic growth. Issues faced in rural areas trigger people’s migration to urban areas. Those people living in rural areas are willingly and unwillingly part of the economic system.
Movement of people from rural areas to urban center is triggered by voluntary and involuntary forces. Involuntary are the factors that force people to migrate with no choice but to move this are the push factors. Voluntary forces covers all people’s migration by will, this are the pull factors (McCatty, 5). Migration Forces People may involuntary move from rural to urban areas as a result of family disagreements, wars, conflicts, draught, famine and political strife. This factors forces people to seek refuge in urban areas where they can have access to security, food and far from political strife.
Voluntary factors such as better employment opportunities force people to move to urban areas. The quality of employment in urban areas is better than in rural. In rural areas people have little education and their payment is low. Those who have migrated to urban areas have gained incentives through better and well paying jobs. Housing conditions in rural areas is worse compared with urban areas; people may voluntarily decide to move to urban areas to have access to better living conditions such as better healthcares, better education and housing (McCatty, 8).
Rural land tenure and pattern of inheritance is another factor resulting in voluntary rural urban migration. This cause problem if land tenure is communal whereby you find that land is owned by group of people thus individual having no authority to protect or own the land. This cause conflict during land sharing forcing many people to be landless thus opting to move to urban centers. Rural social structure and cultural values may cause conflict among rural population forcing some people to move to urban areas.
Different ethnic communities have different cultural values and social structures which may differ resulting to cultural conflicts thus people’s migration to urban areas where they can’t experience cultural conflicts. Rural people when offered with better options of earning living which are not demanding like rural farming and which is more financially rewarding, they are likely to accept. Depending on the country, farming gives seasonal employment with no enough income to sustain rural people thus being forced to move to urban areas in search for better and well paying jobs (McCatty, 9).
Issues faced in Rural Areas – Changes in educational system as a result of what is being taught in school vary from their traditional norms. In rural areas, cultural values and norms undergo changes due to influence from foreign entities and missionaries. In rural areas people experience low and high global economy due to drop of prices thus their sustainability being influenced. During economic recession they are the first people to be affected. This triggers their movement from rural to urban for search of better opportunities.
People in rural areas are exposed to films, radio programs and recent television series from cities. When exposed to this urban life, their living conditions decline due to exploitation of resource in need of living like those in urban areas. Many people are not able to cope with this situation in rural areas and they opt for urban areas where they can have better life with access to all these facilities. Living condition for most rural people have changed for better with improved medical care, improved health and longevity which has contributed to increase in population in rural areas thus pressure on the limited resources.
These forces some people especially young incase the land ownership in the rural was communal they move to urban centers where they can be accommodate without congestion (McCatty, 7). Influence by outside developed world on people’s culture and way of life contributes to people’s movement to urban areas. Media influence has made people recognize their state of poverty. This has made people think of change and they think the only option to move to urban center for white collar jobs and better living conditions.
People’s perception of better life changes their success in rural areas; people have changed their notions about educations and holding higher positions. This has facilitated people movement from rural area to urban in search of better education which can lead to higher incomes thus increasing their future income. Increase in income increases people’s consumption. People believe that by having firsthand accounts their living conditions will be improved in urban areas (Agesa and Sunwoong, 60). Poverty Poverty is experienced globally in third world nations especially by rural population.
Developmental policies in various countries are more concerned with poverty alleviation resulting to economic growth. Most people in developing nation live under poverty with urban poverty being constant with majority living in rural areas. In those countries with agricultural based economy, those residents who are poor lack access to resources thus high level of inequitable and inequality distribution of resources. Most people living in rural areas are women and children who practices subsistence farming.
Poverty contributes to people‘s movement from rural to urban areas in search of better and well paying jobs to alleviate poverty (McCatty, 9).. Urban Informal Sector Unlike the formal counterpart of urban informal sector, there are activities of all kind which are unregulated and small scale in nature. Most people in urban areas create their own employments, start their businesses and even work as a small-scale family enterprise. These jobs includes, street vending, hustling, sharpening of knife, drug trafficking, maize roasting and even prostitution.
Others find better jobs like artisans, mechanics, carpenters, barbers, personal servants and maids. Some becomes successful business people with several employees thus earning more income. Those people venturing in informal work are mostly rural migrants who have little skills and they earn enough income just to sustain them. Informal sector has a link with formal sector and offers employment opportunities to those people who can’t access jobs in formal sectors. Informal sector acts as a safety net for those rural people who fall back if things don’t work out for them.
Informal sector has been categorized among those factors causing rural urban migration since it reduces individual risk of being unemployed once they migrate to cities (McCatty, 12). Government policies to some extent cause rural urban migration. Those policies supporting disproportionate increase employment opportunities and in wage rate in urban centers leads to imbalances in rural urban landscape. Rural urban migration contributes to increased rate of unemployment in urban areas.
As a result of difference in wages there are urban bias encouraging people to move from rural to urban thus urban bias resulting to rural-urban migrations (Agesa and Sunwoong, 72). Modernization of Agriculture Agricultural modernization contributes a lot toward rural urban migration especially in developing countries. Agricultural modernization involves use of machines and artificial fertilizers for agriculture. This result to need of few workers in the farms and farmers doesn’t require farm manure but use fertilizers. This reduces employment opportunities for rural people especially youths and men.
Those farmers who used to keep livestock lose market for their products like manure thus being forced to look for alternatives in urban areas (Goldscheider, 27). Natural Disasters Natural disasters like floods, earthquakes and landslide contribute toward rural urban migration. These natural disasters destroy people’s properties and crops leading to poverty and insecurity. To seek for safety and alternatives people prefer moving to urban areas where they can have guaranteed safety from such disasters (Agesa and Sunwoong, 68).
Other Factors Other factors like primitive conditions in rural areas forces people seek civilized ways of living in urban areas. Bullying, death threats and disown from society as a result of certain offense may force one seek refuge in urban areas where there is no cultural or community rules to be followed. Slavery in rural areas may force people to move to urban areas mostly children and youth who finds it difficult to put up with work they are given by parents or in plantations.
Poor chances of finding courtship may be a contributing factor in that; one may think that in urban areas there are many people where s/he can have chance of choosing from different people (Goldscheider, 41). Conclusion Not only rural people but people in general are attracted to urban areas because they think that urban areas have better and greater opportunities than rural. For many who move to urban they end up in poverty. Rural urban migration being flexible and dynamic phenomena cause diversification with a certain degree of commitment. Migration helps in linking people and transferring them from low opportunities to high opportunities.
Rural urban migration contributes nearly to 60 percent of urban growth and it occurs at a particular setting which is marked by limited industrial but quick commerce centered growth in cities.
Works Cited

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Agesa, Richard & Sunwoong Kim, “Rural To Urban Migration as A Household Decision: Evidence From Kenya, “Review of Development Economics, Vol. 5, 2001, pp. 60-75
Goldscheider, Calvin, Rural Migration in Developing Nations, Boulder and London: Westview P, 2003 McCatty Machel, the Process of Rural-Urban Migration in Developing Countries, Ottawa: Ontario, Carleton University, 2004

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