Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Environmental pressures and rural-urban migration: The case of Bangladesh

Herrmann, Michael and Svarin, David (2009): Environmental pressures and rural-urban migration: The case of Bangladesh.

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Abstract

Bangladesh, like other least developed countries (LDC), has a large rural population and agricultural labor force. At the turn of the Millennium 75 percent of the LDCs’ population still lived in rural areas and 71 percent of the LDCs’ labor force was involved in agriculture. Yet, even the least developed countries are affected by rapidly accelerating rural-to-urban migration. This decade, 2001-2010, is the first ever in which the urban population grows faster than the rural population in the LDCs. And this change is also associated with a historic employment transition, where the agricultural sector gradually loses importance.

Both the population and the employment transition that can be observed for the group of least develops countries, are largely attributable to LDC's in Asia, and in particular Bangladesh. The very large rural-urban migration in Bangladesh, in comparison with other least developed countries, is attributable to relatively strong push factors on the one hand, and strong pull factors on the other. The principle factor that encourages people to leave their homes in the country side is the frequent recurrence of natural disasters, which undermine agricultural development and cause food crisis. By contrast, the principle factor that attracts people to urban centers is the expansion of the non-agricultural sectors, industry and services, which promises jobs and higher household incomes.

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