Working Paper

Urbanisation, Rural–Urban Migration and Urban Poverty

Published on 1 March 2015

Rural-urban migration continues to attract much interest, but also growing concern. Migrants are often blamed for increasing urban poverty, but not all migrants are poor. In many cities, however, migrants form a large proportion of the urban poor with whom they share income and non-income disadvantages, including difficulties in finding adequate housing and in accessing services.

Like the majority of the urban poor, they work long hours in low-paid, insecure and unsafe jobs and are exposed to a wide range of environmental hazards because most low-income and informal settlements lack basic infrastructure.

In many cases when urban governments try to reduce or control rural–urban migration, this also affects low-income residents and not just migrants.


Gordon McGranahan

Research Fellow

Publication details

published by
Tacoli, C., McGranahan, G. and Satterthwaite, D.
Human Settlements Working Paper


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