Urban & Regional Planning

The Effects of Rural-Urban Migration on Public Utilities

The Effects of Rural-Urban Migration on Public Utilities




We live in a world shaped by human migration. Every day people make decisions to leave their hometown, or even their own country and move elsewhere to work, study, retire or reunite with their families. Migration has changed the demographic composition of towns, cities, and nations. Consider this for instance: in 1960 there were only 30 countries in the world that had at least a half-million international migrants each, but by 2005, the number of such countries doubled, bringing the total number of such foreign-born residents globally to 191million people. The majority (641 of 123 million people) of these international migrants moved from less developed countries (PRB 2008). Millions of others known as internal migrants migrated from one place to another within a single country.

Migration is broadly defined as relocation of residence for a specified duration and various reasons (Hossain, 2001). Migration incorporates all kinds of movement of people from one place to another. It may take place within a particular geographical boundary of a country and then beyond its boundaries. Rural-urban migration is the movement of people from the countryside to the urban center. Migration may be permanent in nature or temporary. People may choose to migrate voluntarily or they may be forced into it. Both at the urban destination and the rural origin, there are demographic, economic, socio-cultural, and environmental impacts of migration that are diverse and deep. The migration of hundreds of millions of rural people to cities is a result of both institutional and structural changes caused by economic growth and social modernization. It usually denotes the movement of people from one area to another in search of certain benefits that will fulfill recurrent dreams of “better things to come.” In many cases, mobility in terms of migration to new pastures with the hope that conditions would be better turns out unfruitful.

Migration is not a new feature, nor is it limited to particular parts of the world. It is as old as the world itself. It has been one of the enduring themes of human history. It has contributed to the evolution of separate cultures and their components by interchanging communications with the frequent complexities that mix people and cultures in different areas of the world. In this case, rural-urban migration or labor migration is defined as the movement of able-bodied individuals from rural villages of origin to cities to earn labor wages (Hunnas, 2012). Migrants are people who have left their homes to a new location, either temporarily or permanently to reap the benefits of private social or economic gains (Adepoju, 2003).

Rural-urban migration was formerly regarded as favorable in Economic development. Today it has become one of the most embarrassing problems in Nigeria’s development experience. It is the movement of people from rural areas into cities. However, experiences in developing and developed countries have shown that the rate of rural-urban migration has ceaselessly outweighed the rate of job creation; and having an overweight also, the social and infrastructural amenities available in the urban areas.

Rural-urban migration occurs at varying rates in every country. Many developing countries have a recent colonial past, which has tremendously altered their structure and governance. The populations of countries around the world are becoming increasingly urbanized. The process of urbanization continues to be more rapid and massive, thereby challenging and affecting a greater part of the world than ever before. The move from a mainly rural society to an urbanized world has also impacted all aspects of human lives. In the 1950s less than one-third of the human race was living in cities, but by 2020, it is expected that two-thirds will live in cities and 90 percent of this will be living in the cities of developing countries, (Kante, 2004).

Despite the above-noted situations, there is a lack of sound knowledge and understanding of rural-urban migration concerning its effect on public utilities in the Uyo local government area. Therefore, the study aims to analyze the effects of rural-urban migration on public utilities in the Uyo local government area.


Nigeria’s urban population has been growing at an alarming rate. Nigerian towns and cities are explosively growing in leaps and bounds. A little more than 50 years ago, fewer than 7% of Nigerians lived in urban centers (that is settlements with populations of 20,000 or more). This proportion rose to 10% in 1952 and 19.2% in 1963. It is now estimated at 55%. Nigerian cities are among the fastest-growing in the world (Adepoju, 2003).

The growing concentration of population in urban centers is generally attributed to several socio-economic and lifestyle conditions, such as the higher capacity of the urban institutions to absorb more workers, avenues for a non-agricultural means of livelihood, and higher income generation opportunities. Such rural-urban migration and population concentration within a limited urban area exerts strains on the various public services and have apparent negative social ramifications that impair the living conditions of the residents. It is accompanied by multiple problems and issues associated with the movement of people and materials on a larger scale. It also results in rural depopulation and agricultural inefficiency because the aged ones that are left behind cannot produce enough food for rural consumption.

This constant drift of thousands of people from rural areas has become a striking problem to urban areas. Such problems can be seen from housing problems, pollution, overcrowding, and overstretched of available public utilities. It is these spatial characteristics that are of importance to geographers and hence form the basics of this research.


What are the reasons why people migrate to Uyo local government areas?
What have been the results of such migration on public utilities in the study area?


The overall aim of this study is to examine the effects of rural-urban migration on public utilities in the Uyo Local Government Area, with the following objectives:

(1) To determine the effects of rural-urban migration on public utilities in the Uyo Local Government Area.

(2) To identify the dominant migratory groups of migrants in the study area.

(3) To examine the major determinant factors of rural-urban migration in the Uyo Local Government Area.


For this study, the hypothesis below is put forward to ascertain these effects:

H0: There is no significant effect of rural-urban migration on public utilities in the Uyo Local Government Area.

H1: There is.


The study covers ten (10) villages in the Uyo local government area of Akwa Ibom State as the study area. It is about the rural-urban migration of people. The research is on the effect of rural-urban migration on public utilities in the Uyo Local Government Area.


This research is significant in that it will provide fresh and much-needed inputs on the possible effects of rural-urban migration on public utilities to policymakers, planners, and institutions of learning it will serve as reference material on issues that:

Tackles the problems that force people to leave their rural origin, by bridging the development gap between urban and rural areas through the introduction of sound rural development strategies and effective urban management.
It will also help to provide information for planners and policymakers to formulate and implement population redistribution or migration policy.


1.8.1 Location: Uyo Local Government Area is the capital city of Akwa Ibom State. It is located in the South-Southern of the State. It lies between latitude 7º30’ and 8º03’ E and between longitude 4º52’ to 5º10’ N. It covers an area of about 985.96 square kilometers and comprises a total (see figure 1) 75 villages (Akwa Ibom State edict No.12, 1988).


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