Rural to urban poverty

Written by admin on March 16, 2018 in General

by Ryan Binder

In 2009, humanity witnessed a drastic change in the world’s demographics. For the first time in history, more people were living in urban areas than rural, and the Population Reference Bureau predicts that this shift will continue for the near future. According to the Bureau, “It is expected that 70 percent of the world population will be urban by 2050.” This unprecedented change has huge implications for the future of international development, and poses significant obstacles to combating severe poverty in both urban and rural areas.

Economically, it is more efficient for developing countries to invest in its cities more heavily than rural areas, but this efficiency has led to a massive rural-urban migration. With rural areas lacking infrastructure, education, and employment opportunities, rural community members have begun to view the urban area as a hopeful solution to their dire situation.

A recent article published in the International Journal of Population Research states, “Rural-urban migration is a result of the search for perceived opportunities as a consequence of rural-urban wealth inequality.” “Perceived” is the critical word due to the fact that many rural individuals will end up in urban slums after their migration.

These “perceived” opportunities to alleviate the imminent issues facing rural communities can be potentially promising. But researcher John Scott, believes the migration that ensues leads to more harm than good. Rural-urban migration leads to profound social instability within urban slums. The migration can cause critical risks to infrastructure, and can also pose a potential risk of water contamination and the spread of disease.

Alongside the issues that impact urban areas, migration also harms the livelihood of rural communities. As people leave rural areas, those communities are facing a decline in social capital and financial growth. Poverty, as well as deforestation, rises.

Research suggests that the rural-urban migration is only causing greater socioeconomic stratification, and leading to a deteriorating quality of life in both rural and urban areas. Not only are rural areas facing harsher deforestation and severe poverty, but the urban slums in areas like Port-au-Prince or Nairobi face contagious diseases and a low quality of life.

So what can be done to change the current rural-urban migration?

Economist Michael Todaro suggests that developing countries need to start heavily investing in their rural areas. While many governments invest heavily in urban infrastructure, rural communities have often been left out.

We believe that integrated rural development can be accomplished through sustainable agricultural techniques, community empowerment, VSLA groups, and spiritual revitalization. As we work toward solving one of the many issues perpetuating wealth inequality and deforestation across the globe, we thank all of our partners who come alongside us in our mission to reverse rural poverty.

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