Over the years, there has been this hue and cry by government and public policy advisers against the phenomenon of the rural-urban drift. Researchers have been conducted on various aspects of this phenomenon which have resulted in the identification of the various causes and consequences of it. Also, prescriptions have been given for controlling the rural-urban drift.
Among the cause most often mentioned are population pressure in some rural areas resulting in dwindling stranger to modern civilization people for urban employment; higher wages in the urban centers relative to rural centers and the rather naive one of the ‘bright lights’ in the cities so much touted by early foreign sociologists.
The most often mentioned consequences of this rural-urban migration include depopulation of the rural area leading to overcrowdiof the cities and the resultant housing and sanitation problems; decline in the agricultural population resulting in lesfewerod crops being grown and high food prices in the cities, and increasing urban unemployment. The results of the phenomenon are seen largely as negative.
Measures to control the rural-urban drift include the establishment of essential amenities like water, electricity, hospitals, colleges, and cinema houses; the location of unemployment-generatingtablishments an,d the building of good interconnecting roads.
The sum total of these prescriptions in essence, unwittingly or paradoxically, is for the rural areas to be transformed into urban centers. This is so because to industrialize the rural areas would draw many more people out of agriculture than if industries were restricted to urban centers.
When industries are located in the rural areas, it involves much less cost for the prospective rural-urban migrant to change to a non-agricultural job, than involved in his leaving a rural abode for a distant urban centers.
Therefore, rural industrialization holds a higher potential for the de-agriculturalization of the rural population than when industries are concentrated in urban areas.
The phenomenon of rural-urban migration has been intensively and extensively researched and studied, but it would seems that it has largely been misinterpreted and misunderstood. Consequently, public policies on the subject have largely been misdirected.