The Society is today highlighting the urgent need to improve our understanding of the impacts of urban migration on both migrants and the cities they move to.
By 2050, it is predicted that 70% of people will live in cities, with almost all urban population growth in the next 30 years taking place in cities in Africa and Asia. The World Health Organisation estimates that the urban population of these continents will increase from 2.5 billion in 2009 to almost 5.2 billion by 2050. Much of this growth will be the result of migration from rural areas.
Many poor, rural migrants in Africa and Asia end up in the poorest neighbourhoods of cities, where it is all too easy to become trapped.
Dr Rita Gardner, Director of the Society, said:
“Urbanisation is the defining feature of global population growth and distribution in the first half of the 21st century. City growth in the next 30 years is expected to be overwhelmingly concentrated in Africa and Asia, much of it the result of migration from rural areas.
“Responding appropriately to these movements, which are some of the most important and least studied migration patterns worldwide, is a critical global challenge. We just don’t know enough about the impacts on both the migrants and the neighbourhoods and communities they move to.”
In response to this urgent need, the Society has launched Migrants on the margins.
Migrants on the margins is a three year collaborative field research project involving researchers from UK universities and international research organisations. It focuses on the vulnerability and opportunities of migrants in some of the world’s most pressured cities, including Colombo (Sri Lanka), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Harare (Zimbabwe) and Hargeisa (Somaliland).
Fieldwork is now underway to explore the factors that determine the life chances of migrants and how urban migration impacts on neighbourhoods and existing communities. The field surveys are collecting data from thousands of individuals in communities across the four study cities, and they will be repeated in January 2018 to provide longitudinal data.
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