35% of urban migrants earn Shs100,000 monthly

A man counts money. There is a marked difference in the status of social services between urban and rural areas, with rural areas lagging far behind urban areas on quality of services. PHOTO | EDGAR R. BATTE

What you need to know:

  • Urban areas have more schools, health facilities, police stations, markets and better roads surfaces that are concentrated in a much smaller area, thus making them more accessible. 

Most Ugandans in rural areas are migrating to urban areas due to more income-earning opportunities according to a new research.

The research conducted by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung titled: Great Expectations Why Ugandans Leave Their Villages and How They Settle in Greater Kampala, also states that those in urban areas are less satisfied with public services and less engaged in the democratic governance process than their rural counterparts.

The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung urbansation (FES) survey in Uganda followed the same design adopted for Similar FES surveys in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Namibia and Senegal. 

In Uganda, the survey worked with  random, stratified clustered samples of adult Ugandans residing in low –or medium-income areas, drawn from the capital city of Kampala and four rural districts Bushenyi in the West, Masaka in Central, Kamuli in the East and Gulu in the North of Uganda.  

Presenting the research findings at Kampala Serena Hotel on Tuesday, the leader researcher and managing director, Hatchile Consult Ltd, Mr Francis Kibirige said slightly over one-third of all survey respondents (35 percent) live in households that earn Shs100,000 or less per month, while nearly 40 percent live in households that earn Shs100,000 to Shs500,000. 

“Nearly two-thirds in rural areas (59% vs 12% in urban), women (38% vs 33% for men) and those older than 50 years (54% vs 30% for those aged 18 – 30 year) live in households that earn Shs100,000 or less per month,” he said. 

Mr Kibirige said only one-quarter describe their present living conditions as “fairly good or very good”, down from 56 percent before Covid-19 struck. 

“This data shows the economic disparity between urban and rural areas, especially as the survey targeted low and medium-income areas, and the impact Covid-19 has had on livelihoods,” he said. 

The recent data shows a marked difference in the status of social services between urban and rural areas, with rural areas lagging far behind urban areas on quality of services and presence of physical service delivery infrastructure. 

Urban areas have more schools, health facilities, police stations, markets and better roads surfaces that are concentrated in a much smaller area, thus making them more accessible. 

Not only are health, education or communications services reported to be of better quality in urban areas, but the service is more reliable and there is a window of economic opportunity for everyone. 

 There is a greater perceived potential for paid work and (formal) employment in urban areas than in rural areas, with many in rural areas convinced they only need to step into the urban area to find better work. Data shows that urban dwellers report higher and more regular incomes than their rural counterparts.

The research findings show that one in five (20%) is considering moving to an urban area in the next five years, with Kampala (35%) the most likely destination, while one half consider migrating to another district (54%). However almost two thirds (60%) say Covid-19 affected their planned migrations “to a great extent”.

Urban inequality  

The resident representative Friedrick-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Uganda, Mr Rolf Paasch says Africa’s citizens are moving into the cities in ever larger numbers. By 2040 a majority of Africans will be living in urban areas. 

“They are moving with the expectation of new economic opportunities and better service delivery. Yet arriving in the city they often find out that they just moved from rural poverty into urban inequality. The infrastructure of the city they  have chosen might indeed be better than the village they come from, but it is increasingly failing to accommodate the rising numbers of new arrivals,” he says. 

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