Impacts of rural-urban drift

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Rural-urban drift is a complex issue in many developing countries around the world and The Gambia is not an exception. Rural development initiatives across the developing world are designed to improve community well-being and livelihoods. In The Gambia, like in most developing countries, a good number of youth move to the urban areas for a variety of reasons. One pertinent reason is lack of jobs and limited prospects in the rural areas, thereby forcing multitude of youth to live in the urban centres.

However, migration in some corners has been viewed as a survival strategy utilized by the poor, especially the rural dwellers. The effects of migration on rural areas has remained relevant since migration acts as a catalyst in the transformation process of not only the destiny of individual migrants but also the conditions of family members left behind, local communities, and the wider sending regions. One significant source of development for the rural populace as a result of this increasing drift towards the cities is remittances.

Back at the rural areas, the phenomenon has contributed to the low agricultural productivity, as most young people; the active and energetic in terms of agriculture now prefer to settle in the urban areas as opposed to staying in the rural areas.

This reminds us about the positive contribution of youth in the development of any nation. The United Nations described the role of youth as essential for a sustainable future. According to UN, youths account for about 1.8 billion of the global population.

Rural-urban drift, however, also comes with a lot of bad effects, which include, an increase in the ratio of crime rates, prostitution, overcrowding, traffic congestion, a high dependency ratio and job scarcity among others.

This reminds us about the importance of decentralisation of national development. Infrastructural investment and manufacturing incentives in rural areas are crucial in the stemming the flow of rural-urban movement.

Again, if urban development is not placed squarely alongside rural priorities, risk policy errors would impact severely the country development.

“This inequality and/or urban bias in development according to research findings over the years results from the overwhelming concentration of wealth, assets, purchasing capacity, economic activities, and variety of services in the urban centres as well as the continued neglect and degradation of rural environments or areas .”

International Journal of Population Research