Migration and Urbanization of Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Nairobi City, Kenya

Eliya M. Zulu, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Adama Konseiga, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Eugene Darteh, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Blessing Mberu, Brown University

Urban population growth in sub-Saharan Africa is driven by migration of young adults seeking better livelihoods in cities. This study contributes to understanding the dynamic process of rapid urbanization amidst increasing urban poverty in African cities by describing demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of migrants, identifying push and pull factors, and determining the relative magnitude of rural-urban and urban-urban migration streams using rich data from the ongoing longitudinal health and demographic surveillance study in the slums of Nairobi covering 60,000 people. The results show that while a significant proportion of the population has lived in slums for many years, there is considerable turn-over of the population, with 40% of immigrants coming from other urban areas. Most immigrants come to Nairobi to escape rural poverty, but end up living in slums characterized by poor environmental sanitation, overcrowding, social fragmentation, unstable livelihoods, poor health outcomes, and high levels of insecurity.

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Presented in Session 30: Migration in Developing Countries