Rural-Urban Migration in Kenya

Rural-urban migration is described as the movement of individuals from rural areas to urban areas. Sometimes referred to as urbanization, people move away from rural areas for a variety of reasons.

Reasons for rural-urban migration in Kenya include:

  • Searching for employment.
  • Improvement of their living standards.
  • The ability to access better services, roads, good hospitals, good houses, better schools, and all other amenities available in urban areas.
  • The possibility to gain new experiences, start a business and take advantage of other opportunities found in urban areas.
  • Escaping poverty, hunger, conflicts, and other disasters in rural areas.

Despite a promise of a good life in urban areas, rural-urban migration often leads to:  

  • Lack of adequate employment because of competition – As people migrate to urban areas, there is competition for available employment opportunities which often leads to low wages and joblessness.
  • Overcrowding or congestion in urban areas – As people migrate to urban areas, the streets and housing facilities become overcrowded/congested.
  • Increased pressure on social amenities – When many people migrate to urban areas, the pressure on social amenities like hospitals, schools, housing, and water, among others increases creating scarcities and a problem in the quality of services provided.
  • Negative impacts on rural economies – Most of the people who migrate to urban areas are the most active and energetic people in their rural communities. When they migrate, they leave behind individuals who are unable to improve the rural economy.
  • Negative socio-economic effects – When people migrate to urban areas, they are looking for better opportunities to improve their livelihoods. For many, a better life is out of their reach often leading to frustration. When frustration sets in, feelings of failure may lead to a life of crime, prostitution, and other social evils that reverberate throughout Kenyan society and beyond.

Additional Resources on Rural – Urban Migration in Kenya

Rural to urban migration in Kenya

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