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Rural-Urban Migration

  • By: Wenfei Winnie Wang
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Rural-urban migration is both a socioeconomic phenomenon and a spatial process involving the movement of people from rural areas into cities, either permanently or semipermanently. At present, it occurs mainly in developing countries as they undergo rapid urbanization. Job opportunities created by industrialization attract the surplus rural labor to the cities to seek higher salaries through employment in the industrial sector. Rural-urban migration is widely considered an inevitable component of the development process, though it has a broad range of consequences and implications.

Theoretical Frameworks

The main theoretical bases to understanding rural-urban migration include neoclassical economic theories and the household strategy approach.

Neoclassical Theories

The Harris-Todaro model and the Lewis dual sector model are two of the representative neoclassical economic theories illustrating the dynamics of rural-urban migration.

The Harris-Todaro model ...

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