Migration and poverty dynamics: Transferring rural poverty to urban areas

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University of Ghana


Migration is an enduring theme of human history and considered as one of the defining global issues of the twenty-first century. It is also a major component of population distribution and change in both places of origin and destination. Among the major changes caused by migration in places of origin and destination is poverty, which is a multi-dimensional phenomenon. The migration poverty nexus is seen as poverty causing migration, migration causing poverty and poverty alleviated by migration. This poverty is seen as 'cause' and as 'consequence' of migration. The prevalence of poverty is substantially higher in rural areas than in urban centres in almost all developing countries. Poverty has therefore been conceptualised to be a rural phenomenon. This not withstanding, it is now recognised that the rapid growth of urban population has led to a worsening poverty in urban areas. Though urban population growth is largely by natural increase, internal migration still remains an important factor that contributes to urbanisation. Analysis of Poverty Profile in Ghana shows an increasing poverty in the Greater Accra region which has a large number of in-migrants and this has been associated with the high net migration to the region. It has often been hypothesized that migrants from ru ral areas simply transfer poverty from rural to urban areas. This paper thus examines the extent to which migrants transfer rural poverty to urban areas considering the reciprocal relationships of the migration poverty nexus and poverty levels of migrants and indigenes in the Greater Accra Region


School of social sciences colloquium


migration, poverty, population growth, rural area