What Are the Effects of Rural to Urban Migration?

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Rural to urban migration may lead to increase in crime rates, unemployment, environmental pollution and limited access to social amenities. In addition, it also affects the agricultural productivity in rural areas due to workforce reductions.

People migrate from rural areas to urban areas in search of better employment opportunities, education and better living conditions. This movement is encouraged by the perceived large number of employment and business opportunities in urban areas. The following are some of the effects of rural to urban migration.

Effects of Rural to Urban Migration in Urban Areas

Unemployment: Increased movement of people from rural areas results in a surplus workforce in the urban areas. In this regard, many of those migrating are left unemployed. Moreover, due to the surplus workforce, employers tend to pay low wages, which may force their employees into harsh economic situations.

Poor sanitation: Rural to urban migration may lead to overcrowding in urban areas. Overcrowding causes an increase in demand for low-cost housing for both the poorly paid employees and the unemployed, resulting in the emergence of informal settlements and slums. As observed in many third world countries, such slums lack proper sanitation, which exposes residents to diseases like cholera.

Increase in crime rates: Unemployment resulting from surplus labor in urban areas is one of the contributing factors for crime in inner city areas. Some unemployed youth join gangs and other organized crime syndicates in order to make ends meet. Moreover, unemployment in urban areas contributes to several social ills, such as drug abuse and prostitution.

Environmental pollution: Rural to urban migration may lead to overcrowding of urban areas, which often results in increased motor vehicle emissions, industrial pollution and improper waste disposal. In addition, without proper planning, increasing urban populations may lead to stretched utility services, such as garbage collection and maintenance of drainage systems. This not only pollutes the environment, but it also exposes individuals living in these areas to unsanitary conditions, which can create health complications.

Shortage of basic amenities: As more people migrate into urban areas, the existing facilities, such as hospitals and schools, may become overutilized. Overutilization of such amenities results in poor service delivery to the general population.

Health complications: Individuals living in congested urban areas are constantly exposed to long hours in traffic, noise pollution, taxes and generally high costs of living. In this regard, such individuals face several psychological and health challenges due to mental stress.

Effects of Rural to Urban Migration in Rural Areas

Reduced agricultural production: The migration of able-bodied individuals from rural areas to urban areas results in a reduced rural workforce and decreases in agricultural productivity. This affects food security because most agricultural crops are grown in rural areas.

Neglect of rural areas: As a result of growing concentrations of people in urban areas, authorities tend to prioritize more resources to such areas. This may leave rural areas without basic amenities, such as proper road networks, educational facilities and medical institutions.

Remittances to rural areas: Cash remittances sent by spouses and relatives are one of the main advantages of rural to urban migration. These remittances assist in alleviating the living conditions of people in rural areas.