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Population Investigation Committee

Determinants of Rural-Urban Migration in Ghana Author(s): J. C. Caldwell Reviewed work(s): Source: Population Studies, Vol. 22, No. 3 (Nov., 1968), pp. 361-377 Published by: Population Investigation Committee Stable URL: . Accessed: 21/11/2011 15:04
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Determinants of Rural-Urban Migration in Ghana


Since the present boundariesof Ghana' were established after World War I the growth of urban population2 has been rapid. In the 27 yearsbetweenthe 192I and I948 censusesthe numbersof personsenumerated in townstrebled from about i 8o,oooto overhalfa million, onlyto trebleagain in the next I2 yearsto over i-1millionsat the time of the I960 census.3The proportion of the 2~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ country's population living in urbanareaswas less than8 % in I92I, I3% in I948 and 230% in I960.4 Between I92I and I948 urban populationgrewat over 40% per annum and the townsabsorbed about 370% of the country's totalpopulationincrease,while in the subsequentperiodup to I960 theurbanpopulation growth rateaveragedover900 per annumand thetownsabsorbedabout3900 of the totalpopulationincrease.Thus the recentclimbin the urbangrowth ratehas been almost the productof accelerating entirely in the country populationgrowth as a whole and not of the absorption of a largershareof the populationincrement. such rapid urbanization has not been sustainedmerely Nevertheless, by the reproduction of the existing townpopulationand by the reclassification of centres as townswhenthe enumerated inhabitants first exceeded5,000. It has meanta veryconsiderable movement ofpeople bothwithin the country and fromoutside.One analysisof the growth of 29 centres whichcould be identified as townsat boththe I948 and I960 censusesconcludedthatalmostthree-fifths of the intercensal growth must be explainedby immigration.5 Possiblya thirdof this immigration has been from othercountries,6 forexternal migration has helpedto foster thegrowth ofGhana's towns, so thatby I960 almosta fifth of the urbanpopulationwas of foreign origin.7 Thus, of the I948-60 increase of over one millionpersonsin the urban areas, at least 400,000 was due to internal rural-urban and theirnaturalincrease,and close to 300,000 to net migration migrants alone. Such migration
Gold Coast and the BritishTogoland Mandate (and Trusteeship) until I957. Defined, as in the ig60 census, as persons enumeratedin centreswith more than 5,ooo inhabitants,which are referred to here as 'urban areas' or 'towns'.
1 2

3There were censuses in I92I, I93I, I948 and ig60. Those quoted here are the first afterthe stabilizationof the borders,and the last two in order to allow the examinationof the latest intercensalperiod. 4Much of the material quoted here is drawn from J. C. Caldwell, 'Migration and urbanization', in Walter Birmingham,I. Neustadt and E. N. Omaboe (eds.), A Study of ContemporaryGhana, Vol. II, Some Aspectsof Social Structure (London, i967), especially pp. I25-I36. 5 Nelson Otu Addo, 'Demographic Aspects of Urban Development in Ghana in the 20th Century',unpublished proceedingsof the First AfricanPopulation Conference,Ibadan, Januaryi966. 6 Caldwell, op. cit.,p. I34. 71960 PopulationCensus of Ghana, Vol. III, Table i3; Advance Reportof Vols. III and IV, Table 7.




and a periodby betweena fifth the intercensal of the ruralpopulationduring reducedthe growth quarter. time The current intercensal period will veryprobablysee the townsabsorbing forthe first populationincrease,and it is quite possiblethatthe urban areas will a majority of the country's oftheprocess Basic to an understanding within another decade.8 inhabitants househalfthecountry's to move and which cause some of the factorswhich induce rural residents is an appreciation than migration for rural-urban of that populationto exhibitgreaterpropensities sub-sections others. the I960 census mobileformostof the presentcentury; Ghanaianshave been conspicuously oftheirbirthand overa thirdin another ofthemoutsidetheRegion9 foundoveran eighth locality. have as well as origin, rural in destination were once largely streams, which However,migration drawn thetowns.In the I960 census,data on thesemovements been increasingly diverted towards questionswere shown,and the subsequentpostand place-of-enumeration fromplace-of-birth enumeration survey is expected to provide valuable additional materialfrom supplementary questionson lengthof stayand place ofprevious(usual) residence. in rural These data should allowthe investigation of some,but not all, aspectsof differentials To permita parallel probe of aspects which require questioningin depth,the out-migration. of Ghana organizedsubsequent programme at the University PopulationCouncil demography with special emphasison the ruralend of to the I960 census a survey migration of rural-urban the process.





585 urbanhouseand forcomparison In the yearsI962-I964 a survey of 1,782 ruralhouseholds, being carriedout in March and April I963, withinterthe fieldoperations holds,was organized, of of the University and othersociologystudents made up of demography viewingteamslargely selected,were chosen Ghana.'0 Local authority areas, withinwhichsurveyareas were randomly to the ruralpopulaso thatthenumberofinterviews proportional in ruralareaswas approximately tion foundin fourlarge divisionsof the country, termedforsurveypurposes'Major Migration Regions'. These were North (Upper and NorthernRegions") and Volta (Volta Region), two Ashanti social and economic characteristics; emigrant areas with very different predominantly area; and South (Eastern, immigrant Regions), a predominantly (Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo of flows inward and outward Centraland Western Regions),made up ofRegionswithconsiderable of the country is thatbetweenthe Northand the otherareas; the migrants. The majordichotomy
8Caldwell, op. cit.,p. I90. 9 i.e. thesevenadministrative Regions intowhich thecountry was divided in I960. 10 The survey procedures are described in detailin a forthcoming publication, African Rural-Urban Migration: TheMovement to Ghana'sTowns. 11 The Administrative Regions at thetimeofthesurvey; theAccraCapitalDistrict therural frorn was excluded survey.







former has experienced less social and economicchangethan the others, forits savannahnature has permitted less radicaltransition from the age-old subsistence agriculture, and, because of this and its greater distancefrom the coast,the traditional culturehas not experienced such extensive metamorphosis as elsewhere. Within 45 ruralcentres systematic samplesweredrawnthatgave each householdan equal chanceof selection. If meaningful resultsare to be obtainedfrom of rural-urban analysesof determinants migration,two majorproblemsmustbe overcome. The first is thatcurrent migrants mustbe compared withthe populationfromwhichtheyoriginated, and, secondly, some attention should be paid to personsmigrating duringa relatively shortperiod of time so that the characteristics of several generations of migrants are not lumpedtogether. In the survey an attempt was made to solvethefirst of problemby utilizing thecharacteristics the ruralGhanaian household.One can go fartowards'reconstituting' and hence villagefamilies villagepopulations by takinga census of all personswho everformed partsof the family and are currently alive,irrespective of theirmigration statusor present whereabouts. One can also obtain data on the personalcharacteristics of absenteeswhichappear as satisfactory as the data forthose present at theinterview. Employing such techniques, a totalof I3,748 personswereinvestigated, of whom6,964weremalesand 6,784 werefemales. At thetimeofinterviewing 89% oftheserespondentswere in ruralareas,although not all in their'home' villages. The second problemwas attacked partly by sub-dividing migrants by age and by classifying respondents into I4 groupsby theirmigrational behaviour.This did allow a separateanalysisof visitors to the town,short-term or seasonal migrants, long-term migrants, permanent returnees, temporary returnees and so on;12 moreimportantly, itpermitted a studyofthosecurrently planning departure forthe townsand a comparison withvillagers makingno such plans. The drawback of the techniqueis thatat any giventimethe numbersplanningdeparture are comparatively small, and in additionsome oftheplanners maynotultimately migrate; hence,muchoftheanalysis must to be thatof personswho have actually continue migrated.
The categoriesemployed in the rural surveywere (with the termsstrictly defined): Primarydivision Secondarydivision Tertiarydivision (i) In rural area and has never (a) Never intends to do so. (i) Rarely visitsthe town. migratedto the town. (ii) Oftenvisitsthe town. (b) Intends or hopes to do so. (i) Seasonally. (ii) More permanently. (2) In rural area and has returned (a) Permanentreturn. (i) Afterseasonal migrationonly. to rural area afterone or more (ii) Afterat least one period of more to the town. permanentmigration. migrations (b) Intends or hopes to go again. (i) Seasonally. (ii) More permanently. (3) Away in the town. (a) Temporarily. (i) Visitingtown. (ii) Seasonally. (b) More permanently. (i) Visits village at least once a year. (ii) Rarely or never visitsvillage.

(4) Other. (5) No entry.



The followinganalysis will be confinedto certainobjective village, household or individual characteristics.Such characteristics by no meansexhaust theinfluences whichhelpdetermine the volumeof the rural-urban migration stream. There are, forinstance, manykindsof areal differences, whichwill be roughly delineatedin the fulleranalysiselsewhere by using a regionalframe.Two of the most important of these are, the type of agriculture first, and its relationto the market,13 and second, the extentto which inducedsocio-economic externally changehas alteredtraditional ways. To some degreethe latter in variousindividualand groupcharacteristics is reflected whichwe shall examine. A relatedand probably moreimportant showedthatin influence is thatoftime,forthesurvey each region fewer old adultsofeach sex had evergoneto thetownthanhad youngadults.Propensity for rural-urban migration is certainly in most communities, and areal differences increasing in are probablyverylargely migration patterns a function of time. There are also climaticdifferences, eitherroutineseasonal ones or othersassociatedwith abnormalrainfall. and parSuch factors influence migration, especiallythatwhichis short-term the 'seasonal' variety. ticularly However,the major omissionfromthis type of analysisis the various kinds of fortuitous which apply to one individualbut not another.It is precisely circumstance these circumstances whichare explainedto interviewers who ask migrants whytheyhave leftand non-migrants why criteria theystay. The respondents rarelyemploy the non-personal used in this anlysis; not a because it was singlerespondent replied'Because I am a youngadultand a male' - perhapsmerely too obvious- althoughsuch factorsare of overriding Those planningto go to the importance. townexplainthattheyenjoyedtheirlast visitor thattheyhappento have a brother there;those and musthelp theirageingparents, to staypointout thattheyare the eldestchildren intending or thatthe departure leaves themlittlealternative at leastat thepresent of theirsiblings time,or that the big townhas alwaysfrightened cannot them.Nevertheless, although individual circumstances be analysedseparately, are relatedto the generalcategories thatwe will mostof the explanations henceforth discuss. Movementfromone ruralarea to Finally,the analysisis confined to rural-urban migration. to the town,is oftenproducedby the same influences thatcondition another, although migration as remaining in ruralareas. regarded

- Villageor Household (i) Major Factors Characteristics (a) Distance from thenearest largetown A studyof all interregional of places of birthand migration, based on the I960 censustabulations
13 This is a major factor in determining Regional income differentials which havebeenshown toinduce a migration flow from poorer to richer Regions(B. Gil and E. N. Omaboe,'Internal migration differentials from conventional

PP. 444-445).

census questionnaireitems in Ghana', Proceedings of the I963 Session of the International StatisticalInstitute, I966,





enumeration, showed that the volume of such flows,takingthe size of the potentialemigrant In thepresent survey an analysis related to distance.14 tendsto be inversely community intoaccount, from nearest large town(i.e. ofall personsover20 yearsof age by distanceof householdof origin exceeding5o,ooo at thetimeofthe I960 census)showsa clearinverse witha municipal population at the oi % level amongstboth males and females)between significant association(statistically the nearestlargecentre. to the townsand distancefrom propensity to migrate i or absentforlong-term of personsshownto be currently Thus, in Table the proportion indefinite periods in the town,or to be back in the villagebetweensuch periods,fallsuninterforthose forcentres within ruptedly from overa quarter 25 milesofa largetownto one-fourteenth to a town rises conwho have nevermigrated over 250 miles distant.Similarly, the proportion These two with if the and categories are excluded. longest distance distance shortest sistently contains villagesso close to the because the former problems, categories present special analytical decisionhas been made not to workagain in everfeelthatan irrevocable townthatfewreturnees Upper the town,while the latteris made up almostsolelyof the populationin the farnorthern of seasonalmigration. and has a long tradition Regionwhichis subjectto harshannual droughts

migration: the migration distanceand rural-urban between rural-urban The relationship fromthenearesttownwithover 50,ooo patterns found in rural areas at variousdistances (a) (Percentage distributions) inhabitants.
classification Migration Distanceofruralpopulation from urbancentre (in miles)(b) Under25
25-50 I7
I4 50-IOO I4 IOO-250

Over250 7 9
70 I
I,33I I3

in town(c)(e) absentees Long-term Seasonalrural-urban migrants(d)(e) ) Permanent returnees(f Nevermigrated to thetown no entry Others, in ruralcategory: Total respondents Per cent


62 0

3 6








| ,I558 |




in theruralsurvey over20 years ofage. to respondents (a) Restricted route. byusual lorry (b) Road distance in long-term rural-urban or thosewho have done so and migration, participating (c) Those currently intend to do so again. in seasonal rural-urban a but,unlike (i.e. forlessthana year, migration participating (d) Those currently thanthree either fora periodlonger months or in paid employment) or whohave doneso and visit, intend to do so again. in bothlong-term haveparticipated and seasonal are classified by the migration they (e) Wheremigrants migration. typeofthemostrecent in sometypeofrural-urban but do notintend to do so again. migration (f) Those whohaveparticipated


Gil and Omaboe, Op. cit., pp. 444-445



(b) Size of theruralcentre was statistically betweensize of rural centreand rural-urbanmigration The relationship of thantherelationship just examined.The proportion at the i % level,butless marked significant absenteesin the townrose withthe size of the villagefrom8 6% forthosewithfewer long-term However,therewas a to I4'7% forthose with2,000 to s,ooo inhabitants. than500 inhabitants to decline, north was disproportionately becausethesavannah seasonalmigration partly for tendency centres. The urban the in rural of inhabitants smallestnumber in the categories with represented from bothfor moremigrants ruralcentres urbanthanfrom also reported disproportionately survey rates to analyse,because differential Such data are unsatisfactory migrants. Ghanaianand foreign do not necessarily of growthof the various centresstudied mean that I960 populationfigures size at the timeof each rural-urban to original journey migrant's even the comparative represent thetown. of theruralhousehold condition (c) Economic thereis little on propensity is relative; itseffect to migrate pointin testing Economiccondition most as and as households households most Ashanti poor Upper Region in each area by classifying thedirection does go fartowards ofthemigration explaining such a differential better off, although interviewers were asked to two the householdsin classify the Regions.Accordingly, flowbetween the livingstandards of the membersappeared to be markedly each centreaccordingto whether in general. of the Table 2 showsthatthe the same as those or much below villagers above,markedly of the householdsas average,somewhatmore than a classified around two-thirds interviewers thana sixthas belowaverage, fewer fractions whichpersisted and somewhat sixthas above average, location. in almosteverysurvey levelsof rural households between economic and rural-urban dismigration: TABLE 2. Relationship (a) in each migrant economic category. by household classification tribution of respondents distribution) (Percentage
Migration classification

economic household category Apparent Aboveaverage


Total respondents Percent


Average 66 67


I,372 4,830

Rural-urban migrants(b) returnees Permanent to thetown Nevermigrated





over20 years in therural ofage,and excluding about to respondents 467 respondents survey (a) Restricted was providedor who were in the 'other' or 'visiting'migration information whom insufficient classifications. combinedas no significant absenteesin town' and 'Seasonal rural-urban migrants' (b) 'Long-term thetwodistributions. werefound between differences

whichwas foundto be widespread, especiallyin The table bears witnessto a phenomenon wealthier of the conspicuously fraction areas lackinga lucrativecash crop. A disproportionate





householdsof the village were 'migrant'households,in that they were linked by absenteesor send remittances complex;manymigrants is undoubtedly returnees to the town.The explanation and back at the same time,betterwhile, money possessions, and returnees bring many backhome to schooland so intentionally children or unintentionally to sendtheir aremorelikely off households for town them better jobs. equip at the o i % level. Furthermore, the shownin Table 2 is statistically significant The pattern between economic well-beingand migrationis probably becoming stronger.Of relationship twice as many are found in 'above planninga firstrural-urbanmigration, persons currently whilemoreof the remainder who have nevermigrated to average'as 'below average'households, thanin the former category. thetownsare foundin the latter ofrelatives in urbanareas (d) Existence amongstboth significant Table 3 shows thatthereis a verystrongassociation(statistically ofsomeruralhousehold thepresence members in the at theoI % level) between malesand females the town,an act whichis increasingly of othermemberseithervisiting a townand the likelihood there.Although the associationis somewhat or actuallymigrating migration, preludeto ultimate thanseasonal migration, in the case of the planningof long-term the patterns migration stronger the two in the table. groups are similarenoughto justify aggregating


in urbanareas and likelihood of number ofruralhouseholds between ofmembers 3. Relationship members other household migrating
Numberofmembers in town ofhousehold living
I 2

3+ 64I

Nevermigrated (number)(a) to town visitors current Percentage rural-urban first Percentage planning migration(b)

3,058 6-7

OI 2.7


506 3-0



includes98 current over20 yearsof age who had nevermigrated; visitors to the town. (a) All persons or seasonal. long-term (b) Either

to be encouraged a villager has in the town,the morehe is likely to make The morerelatives initialaccommodation. thechanceofbeingoffered in town Havingrelatives thetripand thegreater numberof ruralresidents foronlya negligible pay a visitto the is decisivein the case of visiting, in the case of them.It is not quite so important to accommodate townunlesstheyhave relatives increasesquite steeplywiththe to become a rural-urban migrant although propensity migration, is an important number of membersof the household already in the town. Chain migration in Ghanaianrural-urban mechanism migration.



(2) Major Factors - Individual Characteristics

(a) Age and sex to migrate to Ghana's townsand ofpropensity Age and sex havelongbeen primedeterminants have lefttheirmarkson the town and, to a lesser in these characteristics migration differentials extent, on the largerruralpopulation. and theyhave been doingso in increasing It is predominantly the youngadultswho migrate numbers.Thus, although I5-34-year-oldsin I960 made up only 3I0% of the country'srural In population, theyformed 38% of the urbanpopulationand 42% of thatof Accra Municipality. in made up 3000 of all personsborn elsewhere the whole Accra Capital District,I5-24-year-olds to thetowns a first migration proportion ofpersonsplanning Ghana. In theruralsurvey thehighest was foundin the I5-I9 year age groupwherea ninthof males and a tenthof femalessaid they to migrate. intended is partly due to the factthatmost The highproportion of youngadultsin townpopulations has been increasing. are made betweenI5 and 25 yearsof age and thatmigration initial migrations the age structure in the near of urban populationswill not be radicallymodified Nevertheless, whilstruralpopulations because the numberof youngmigrants will increaserapidly future, firstly ofmigrants ofall ages,butespecially flow because a largereturn growat 3 % peryear,and secondly in the town,recordedin the of migrants aged over 45 years,does take place. Over nine-tenths statetheirintention of returning and in the ruralsurvey almostfourtimesas many urbansurvey, long-term to thevillageafter who claimedto have returned personsover65 yearsold werecounted, in as still away. the towns attested to be long-term absentees were absence and age is trueof the to migrate What has been said about the relationbetweenpropensity youngerthan their sexes taken separately, except that females,being on average considerably to go to thetownat an earlierage and to return husbandsor prospective husbands,are morelikely the femalepropensity has in the past been smallerthanthatof the whenyounger. Nevertheless, to males males. This has producedthe paradox thatfemalesare scarcestin the townsrelatively to the I960 at precisely thoseages whentheyare mostlikelyto be foundthere.Thus, according census,37% of the urbanfemalepopulationwere aged I5-34 as against33% of the ruralfemale population;yetin thisage rangethe sex ratioin urbanareas was I I6 males per hundredfemales comparedwith87 in the ruralareas. the sex ratiosfor in rural-urban, and international, migration, Because of the sex differential the total populationwere in I960: IOI in ruralareas, io6 in all urban areas and II4 in Accra Municipality.In urban areas the ratio was around I35 for ages 35-49, but dropped to IO9 in the ratiobeing around I50 in the I5-I9 range; in Accra the same picturewas seen more clearly, by sex and urban-rural the older age range but I08 in the younger.This pictureis affected It is sufficiently in age misstatement, differentials but thebroadoutlineis nearenoughto thetruth. accurateto be able to statethatthe drop in sex ratiosin the youngeradult age groupscan be betweenspouses; without anydoubtthesex differential onlypartly explainedbytheage difference in rural-urban is being rapidly reduced. migration





ofthepopulatheAccraCapitalDistrict (five-sixths In theI960 censusdatawerepublishedfor tionof whichis foundin Accra-Tema) on personsborn in otherRegions by sex and broad age Firstly, the fall in sex ratios group.The analysisof these data in Table 4 suggeststwo findings. greatto implystrongly thatthe female from the older to the youngerage groupsis sufficiently for thanthe male. Secondly,male propensity propensity forrural-urban migration is risingfaster a finding whichis somewhat is relatively thanthatoffemales overlonger distances, migration greater where considerablelocal economic obscured by the position in Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti, keeps opportunities, a strong local culture and thelocationof Ghana's secondtownwithin Region at a low level, and thatin the Northern migration to Accra,especiallyfemalemigration, and where wheretherehas been increasing pressuretowardsfemaleas well as male migration to the low sex ratiosin the wivesare oftenmuch youngerthan husbands,a factorcontributing
I5-24 age group.

withinit, by TABLE 4. Sex ratios of Ghanaians bornoutsidetheAccra Capital District but enumerated regionof birthand age group, 1960 Regionofbirth Eastern
I I34

Characteristic Rank of distancefrom Accra(a) (2) (a) Sex ratio, 25-54-yearolds (b) Rankofsex ratios (3) (a) Sex ratio, I5-24-year(i)


Western Ashanti 3

Brong-Ahafo 5 340 6

Northern 6
28 I

4 280 4


5 3

(b) Rankof sex ratios malesurplus (4) Percentage in (3) (a) forms ofthatin
(2) (a)(b)











thecentre ofAccrato thecentre ofpopulation in eachRegion. (a) Distancefrom as thatpartofthesex ratio above IOO. is defined (b) The malesurplus


III andIV (Accra,I962), Table I3. Census Report ofVolumes Population of Ghana,Advance

(b) Education, literacyand spokenEnglish

linkbetweeneducationand rural-urban The first Ghanaiansare awareof a strong migration. of the mission-educated were able to secure non-agricultural jobs in the missions,and, later, and commerceexerteda strongdemand forthe adequatelyschooled. An imported government withthecontent orientated the societies towards ofmoreadvancedeconomies, educational system, to in Ghana for the has oftenseemed towns. One of the most common preparepeople only responsesto the query why a certainperson stayedin the village was that he had enjoyedno had gone was thathe had been to school. and to the querywhyanother schooling,



Table 5 showsthatthe quantitative data supported theseimpressions, the distributions being forbothsexes at the o i % level. However,it shouldbe notedthatof those statistically significant malesand females who had neverbeen to school27% and i6% respectively had migrated at some timeto an urbanarea, but 67% and 6i % of thosewithsecondary schooling or university training had done so. There is a considerable jumpin propensity to migrate from thelimited primary school group, whoare often hardly literate and usuallynotliterate in English, to thelateprimary or middle schoolleaverswho have at least some acquaintancewith the written word and the languageof officialdom. Some ofthosewitheducationbeyondmiddleschool,yetnotplanning to migrate, have had technical training or teacher-training and have been appointed to their homearea because they knowthelanguagespokenthere.
TABLE 5. Relationship between duration ofschooling andpropensity tomigrate: distribution within each

educational category ofrespondents bymigration and sex(a) classification

Highest levelofeducation experienced Limited primary school 59 7


classification Migration


Extended primary schooland middle school 38 9 49 4


Secondary schooland university(b)




No plans Plansto do so Rural-urban migrant(C) no entry Visiting, other,

65 4 27 4

8 67 8



No plans Plansto do so Rural-urban migrant(C) no entry Visiting, other,


77 3 i6 4

28 2 100

65 5

39 46 5


26 6i
100 I3


torural ofage,thusdiffering a published, distrbution over20 years from (a) Restricted survey respondents in Walter and urbanization', of the respondents of all ages (J. C. Caldwell, 'Migration Birmingham, I. Neustadt and E. N. Omaboe(eds.),A Study Vol. II, SomeAspects ofContemporary Ghana, ofSocial Structure shown hereare of 3,748 malesand 3,7I3 females. (London, i967), p. 138. The distributions schooltechnical or professional (b) Includes post-middle training. whohaveevermigrated, either or forlonger to thetown. (c) All persons seasonally terms,

The relationship and propensity forrural-urban does notappear between education migration to be weakening.Thus only one-seventeenth of males who had never migratedand who were without educationwere planningto migrate, but a thirdof such personswitheducationbeyond stillamongst females. These findings The contrast was greater middleschoolhad such intentions. of the modified forRegionand age as well as sex. A sub-division are not essentially by controlling data into 24 groupsby these characteristics showed a statistically significant positiveassociation





in i6 out ofthe I7 sub-divisions forrural-urban migration between educationand propensity with analysis.'5 sufficient respondents to warrant forrural-urban in propensity The analysis in Table 5 showsthatthesex differential migration analysisby age group is onlymarkedamongst the groupwithno educationat all; indeed,further zero forall educatedgroups.Thus the adultsit is now approaching indicated thatamongst younger migration is largely due to education. sex differential in rural-urban in the local language,in English,and in both,and of spokenEnglish, An analysisof literacy, is difficult, forthese skillscome with schoolingand to some extentwithrural-urban migration literacy, especially in English, thatabove-average itself. Whatevidencecould be adduced suggested or fluency to migrateabove the average of one's in English, did tend to raise the propensity educational peers. (c) Familysize and birth rank propensity to migrate increases migration. In general, Familysize playsa role in rural-urban to a townrising withthe totalnumber steadily withfamily size, theindividual'schanceof moving of ofsiblings is confined to siblings ifthe examination of either sex and doingso even moreclearly forbothmales and femalesat theo-i % level). Amongst thesame sex (statistically significant male migration rose with the who had ever participated in rural-urban respondents, the proportion from33 to 35, 40, 4I and 50% as the male siblingsin the numberof male siblingsin the family The progression familytotalledone, two, three,four and five or more respectively. amongst females was 2I, 2I, 26, 35 and 3I% respectively. of two factors:with To a considerable extentthis is probablythe resultof the interaction to thetowns the chancethatat least one will have chosento migrate increasing numberof siblings has occurred, the chanceof othersgoingis raised,as was demonrises,and, once some migration strated in the discussionof chainmigration. With increasing size an increasing numberof the siblingsare of higherbirthranks. family than their It followsfromthe discussionabove thatsuch personswill be more likelyto migrate rankmaybe even morecomplexthanthis, siblings of lowerbirthrank.However,the role of birth forGhanaiansfeelthatthe responsibilities heavy, maybe disproportionately of the olderchildren in theruralareasto look and in manyinterviews explainedthattheyhad remained therespondents after the farm, to the villageto care foraged and ailingparentsor to assumethe or had returned headshipof thefamily on the parents'death,because theywerethemostseniorof the siblings.In general,the evidenceseemed to be thattherewas strongpressureon thoseof low birthrankto to return home. stayat home,and, havingmigrated, These contentionswere generallysupported by the evidence of the quantitativedata was significant in Table 6, although theassociation betweenbirthrankand migration summarized at the 5% level onlyformales,and just below thatlevel forfemales.The greatest problemin this because of insufficient who had to be omitted data. analysiswas the largenumberof respondents
15 too few than Ioo respondents withfewer each were excludedbecause theycontained Seven sub-divisions all werein the6o + age range. withanyeducation to yieldmeaningful results; respondents



Siblingswere defined as fullor halfsiblingsrearedtogether, and birthrankin termsof children ever born. The latterinstruction was feltto be necessary because migration decisionswere often made whensiblings, who subsequently died,werestillalive. Nevertheless, thereis littledoubtthat siblings who died youngwereoften omitted, an occurrence whichmayhave decreasedthevalue of the data. When siblingsof both sexes are takentogether to in the analysis, it is sometimesdifficult separatethe roles of the first and second siblings,but the positionis clearerwhen the sexes are separated. Thus, it seemsprobablethatthe eldestson and eldestdaughter do assumemorefamily responsibilities thantheirsiblings,but thatthe kindsof responsibility are distinct and are called times.Relativeto theothersiblings ofthe same sex, the eldestson is morelikely upon at different to migrate thanthe eldestdaughter, but,havingdone so, he is also morelikelyto have to return.
TABLE 6. Relationship between birthrank and migration of respondents behaviour:(i) percentages

who have ever migrated to the town,and (ii) percentages of such respondents who have returned
(a) By siblings of bothsexes (i) Characteristicexamined
(2) Total group (i.e. in all calculations (i) is a percentageof (2))


Position amongstsiblings(a)

2nd 3rd 38 539

26 31 340 24

4th 5th+ 47
26 159


All respondentsof specified (i) Ever rural-urban migrants(b) sex and birthrank (ii) Permanentreturnees(c) Ever rural-urbanmigrants Numbers of all respondents(d) (i) Ever rural-urban All respondents migrants (ii) Permanentreturnees Ever rural-urbanmigrants Numbers of all respondents(d) (b) By siblings of thesame sex

36 36

22 272

44 i6 i88 36
22 175


33 345


25 20 2II

29 I4 125


2nd 3rd 4th+ 38 555

28 24


All respondents (i) Ever rural-urban migrants Ever rural-urbanmigrants (ii) Permanentreturnees Numbers of all respondents(d) (i) Ever rural-urban migrants (ii) Permanentreturnees All respondents Ever rural-urbanmigrants

32 922

22 24I

22 I90


Numbers ofall respondents(d)

24 23 623


30 23

33 i8



(a) Half or full siblings reared togetherby rank of live births. (b) Includes seasonal and longer termrural-urbanmigration. (c) Permanentreturneesfromeitherseasonal or longertermrural-urbanmigration. (d) Restrictedto respondentsin the rural surveyover 20 yearsof age, but excludes respondentswhere data i.e. in (a) I,848 males and 2,5I7 females,in (b) I,840 males and (mostlyon birthrank) are insufficient, 2,503 females.





These patterns persist;amongstyoungmales the proportion planningtheirfirst long-term to the townsis one-and-a-half migration timesas greatforsons of rankfiveor higheras forfirst or secondsons. The disproportion is smaller, but stillrecognizable, amongst females. (3) MinorFactors (a) Occupation The survey was not able to establish thatruraloccupational differentials playedan important role in selecting migrants to the town. The rural-urban differential in occupationalstructure is certainly of verygreatimportance; most migrants thattheirjourneywill secure are determined forthema non-agricultural job. But within theruralareasoccupational differentials areofcomparatively littleimportance because of the overwhelming predominance of farming. Thus, onlyonethirty-seventh of the workforceof Accra were enumerated as farmers or fishermen but in the I960 censusthree-quarters of all ruralworkers and ten-elevenths of thoseof theNorthern Region werein thiscategory. Over two-thirds wereeither in the senioryearsof of thoseplanning a first children migration school or otherdependentminors, while most of the balance were youngadults assisting with, rather thanin chargeof,farming or the household.An important was thatthosewho had finding obtainednon-agricultural were not thereby training in the village,oftenfromolder craftsmen, a particularly encouraged to plytheirtradein the village,but exhibited fortrying highpropensity theirluck in the town. On the otherhand, those who were employedin such specialized,nonlowerthan average agricultural, ruraloccupationsas quarrying or miningshowed a significantly propensity forrural-urban migration. (b) Conjugalcondition and number ofdependants Rural-urbanmigration certainly of marriage and dependency;migrants affects patterns in townare less likely to be foundin polygamous marriages thanare non-migrants, or thosewho have returned forsome time,in the village. It is muchharderto show thatconjugalcondition or the numberof dependants playsa particularly significant role in ruralareas in determining propensity formigration to the towns.The are planned majorreasonis thatmostmales are singleat theage whenfirst rural-urban migrations or undertaken; whilst the position withregard to females is complicated by thefactthatmigration to thetownmaybe to achievea specific marriage, or marriage in thevillagemayoccurso as to join a male who is alreadya migrant. is very An important minorreasonis thatthe Ghanaianfamily mobile; a marriedmigrant may set offforthe town almost as light-heartedly as a singlemale knowing thatwhen he has foundaccommodation and earned the lorry fareshis family may join him.His wifemaycome next,and latersome or all of his children, perhapsnot all at once. Those staying in the villagewill be cared forby relatives;his wifeand children in the who have arrived townmayhelp to earnthe moneynecessary to keep themthere. The ruralsurvey did detectmarginal variations in propensity to migrate by conjugalcondition. were Amongstmales aged I5-29, 2Q00/ of those planning longer term rural-urbanmigration



to remainin the village.Whilstonly6% of the marriedcomparedwith26% of those expecting marriedmales of this age were planninglong-term migration, 9?0 of the singlewere doing so. the but These findings are statistically significant (at 500 level) may be affected by age variations the I5-29 age range.The planning of seasonal rural-urban even within migration appearedto be littleinconvenienced by marriage.Amongstmales aged 30-59, the single were one-and-a-half a first as were to be planning timesas likely and thewidowedtwiceas likely rural-urban migration the currently married. the propensity To examinewhether the supportof dependentchildrenaffects to migrate is rendered similar to thosediscussedforconjugalcondition:three-quarters difficult by factors of all and amongst malesaged 30-59 only50% are stillplanning ruralmalesaged 15-29 have no children, a first morerural-born migration. Disproportionately males,aged I5-29, withtwoor morechildren are to be foundin the villagethanthe town,but thisis evidencenotonlyofthe lessermobility of whichis oftennecessary in the town. of marriage but also of the longerdeferment largefamilies a first malesstillplanning rural-urban a quarterwere Of those30-59-year-old long-term migration and halfless thanthree;thiscompareswithless thana sixthand less than no children supporting two-fifths respectively amongstthose who had not migratedand were not planningto do so. overtwo-thirds thoseplanninga first seasonalmigration; Childrenwerefewerstillamongst were no children at all. This is relatedto thefactthatamongst supporting maleswho marry particularly as agricultural thereis a late, usuallysingle males working labourers,oftenon relatives'farms, season. conspicuously highincidenceof seasonalmigration duringthe 'off'farming thepropensity and earlyparenthood Thus earlymarriage appearto playsome partin reducing on small The effect because forrural-urban mostfirst migration. migration patterns is, however, whilstin rural-urban migrations by males occursat an age whenfewwould expectto be married, which determines the case of femalesit is oftenmarriageor prospective marriage rural-urban migration patterns. (4) Interrelations The major problemwhichcauses concernin the analysisof the propensity to migrate from theruralareas to thetownsis theinterrelation offactors. The measurement oftheextent to which the variousfactors affect each otheris fraught withdifficulty, fordata on a sufficient numberof forsatisfactory migrations analysiscan be gathered onlyby takingintoaccountmigrations overa considerable period,and it is apparentthatsome of the interrelations changequite rapidlywith time. Nevertheless, surveyand census data will supportthe following observations. Propensity to migrateto a town declines with distanceeven when similarvillages are being compared; presumablysome of the factors involvedare the cost of transport, the extent to whichthe migrant is likelyto be cut off fromrelatives, and the extentto whichthe propinquity of the townhas led to the diffusion ofknowledge about it in the village.However,the steep declineshownin thesurvey in propensity forrural-urban migration withincreasing distancefroma large townarises partly






distancesfroma major town are rarelysimilar.With infromthe factthat villagesat different by and less affected creasingdistancethe societyand economytendsto become moretraditional in thetowns;some of thesechanges,such as a thosechangeswhichare seen at theirmostextreme can be mappedas a seriesa contours of educatedpersonsin the community, risein theproportion Thus, the more distantvillagestend to be less the urbanizedparts of the country. encircling increase changewhichofthemselves socio-economic affected bythe inroadsofeducationand other migration. forrural-urban propensity withincreasein the size of the formigration An even largerpartofthe increasein propensity it does notappearthatthere the data gathered ofeducation;from centre can be explainedin terms foreducation.The I960 census showeda continuum standardization is much residuumleftafter of personsover six yearsof age who had ever attendedschool fromI4% in in the proportions
centres with under 200 inhabitantsto increased to 200-499, 500-999,
I900, 220%,

26 %, 31 %



as the size of the settlement



and finally to 5,ooo persons or more.

alreadyin witha rise in the numberof close relatives to migrate propensity The increasing may also but boththe earlierand subsequentmigrations the townis evidenceof chainmigration; be explainedby the fact,whichbecomesapparentin any Ghanaianvillage,thatsome households members as 'migrant households'in thattheyassumethatsome oftheir come to regard themselves will be mobile and thatpart of theirincomewill be of urban origin.It maywell be thatthis is of a largefamily offa chain starting probability There is a greater trueof mostchainmigrations. as a 'migrant household',and perhapsmore to lookupon themselves processand coming migration high birth by a memberof comparatively than an even chance thatthe processwill be initiated rank. presents a paradox.There is littledoubtthatthe volumeof interregional Economiccondition betweenregionsis widestand thatthe flowis is greatest wherethe incomedifferential migration areas propensity to migrate within the emigrant fromthe poorerto the richerareas. However, increaseswith the economicwell-beingof the households.The latterphenomenoncan almost the better-off householdsare morelikelyto Firstly, be whollyexplainedby two factors. certainly the educationfactor thusintroducing send theirchildren to schooland to keep themtherelonger, householdsare more likelyto be 'migration in migration propensity;secondly,the better-off withtown moneyand whichtend to chain households'whichhave raised theirlivingstandards

by education.The I960 affected are also extensively in migration Age and sex differentials with some schoolingcomparedwith the of 20-24-year-olds census showed that the proportion timesas males and five-and-a-half was threetimesas greatamongst of 55-64-year-olds proportion in had receivedschooling timesas manymales as females females.Two-and-a-half greatamongst it. However,the sex ratioof personswith receiving the past, and twice as manywere currently this with age, evidencethat all through some schooling(i.e. past or present)falls consistently has been lessening;thatshownby the ig60 censusfor the disproportion in the classroom century forpersonsaged 20-24 250, and personsaged over 65 yearswas 470 males per hundredfemales, for6-9-year-olds I55.



The educationdifferential by age can explainthe wholeof the historical changein propensity forrural-urban migration. However,the age differential mostfirst whichconfines migrations to sucha limited periodin thelifespan is inherent in thecultural and physiological aspectsofgrowing up and seekinga career.When a personis no longerdependent and when on the oldergeneration he is in a positionto decide withsome independence wherehe wantsto live and how he wishesto be employed, he is mostlikely to migrate;increasingly, in ruralschools as the numberof children grows and theaverageage at leavingschoolrises,Ghanaianrural-urban are migrants concentrating theirages at first migration intothe fewyearsimmediately after leavingschool. The educationdifferential also appears to explainthe whole sex differential amongstthose currently planning migration at the timeof the survey.If the current educationaldifferentials are applied to past migrations theywould more than explainthe sex differential in the rural-urban migration stream;thus women migrated withlower educationalqualifications than would have moved the same numberof men, motivateddoubtlessby the need for preserving or forming

It is evident thatan administration the volume could,witha time-lag, influence substantially of rural-urban migration by providing moreor fewereducational facilities; although it is also true thatsuch actionwould have manyothereffects on the society and economy as well.






In the last half-century rural-urban migration has had threemajor effects: it has changedthe balance of populationresident in urban and ruralareas; it has helped to concentrate population withcertaincharactistics in the towns; it has forgedstronger linksbetweenthe urban and rural areas. In the 39 yearsbetweenthe I92I and I960 censuses,urban populationmultiplied over 82 timeswhilethatof the whole country did not quite treble.Taking intoaccount,on the one hand, the factthatsome of the new urban populationremainedin the same centreswhile these grew beyondthe minimum criterion of 'urban',and on the otherthatan appreciable fraction of national population growth was derivedfrom external immigration, it is probably a fairestimate to saythat some two-thirds of this urban growthwould not have occurredexcept for in-migration, either internal rural-urban or as a resultof immigration from othercountries. Thus in-migration during theprevious 39 yearsaccounted forabout a millionofthoseenumerated in thetownsin I960. The loss to ruralGhana has been less, because a fifth of thismillionwereprobably of foreign origin,l6 and proportionately much less, because, even if it were assumed that externalmigrants would otherwise have goneto ruralareas,the million would represent an outflow ofless thanone-sixth.'7
16 In I960 20% ofthepopulation oftowns with morethanI0,000 inhabitants (8i % ofall urbanpopulation) were offoreign origin; theproportion is probably lower in thebalanceoftheurbanpopulation, butthismaybe compensatedforby thefailure to enumerate someimmigrant population, especially third generation, as offoreign origin. 17 Assuming thatthe I960 ruralpopulation wouldotherwise have been thatenumerated plus the extra million persons.





theimpacton thevillages largerural-urban migration, ofunprecedentedly Thus, evenin conditions of the total the rural proportion has been verymuch smallerthan on the towns. Nevertheless, and the resultant over the period.Rural-urbanmigration, populationdropped from92 to 77?/o reducedtheGhanaian mayalso havevery slightly changein balanceofurbanand ruralpopulation, later first in that urban fertility, largelybecause of relatively populationin the whole country, marriage, is somewhatlower than that of rural areas."8In termsof total populationthe effect increasedin size by is probablynegligible comparedwiththe extradrawingpowerthe centres, migration migrants. The contribution madebyrural-urban rural-urban migration, had forexternal ultimately to the by migrants to return has been largein spite of a near universaldetermination village,an aim whichmostaccomplish.The additionto the urban populationarises fromtheir and the factthatthe lifetime, actual,iftermporary, presencein the towns duringtheirworking partof the urbanpopulation. children bornto themin the townsusuallybecome a permanent whichwe have to migrate The effect giventhe variouspropensities of rural-urban migration, importance typesof personin the townis of veryconsiderable certain discussed,in concentrating in understanding Thus the I960 census enumerated the processes of economic development.
i8-6% of the country's population, 19.3% of the males and 17-9% of the females in towns with

morethan I0,000 inhabitants.'9 But whilethesetownshoused only Io88% of all personsover 65 indeed,in themwerefound28 6 % ofmales yearsofage,theycontained 24-4% of20-24-year-olds; aged 2o-24 and 22-1 0 of femalesaged 15-19. While theirpopulationmade up less than I9% of concentration schoolattenders and, because ofan evengreater thetotal,it included260% ofcurrent of ruralat earlierperiodsof educational in urbanareas and of the educational selectivity facilities Indeed, 7300 of personstrainedin secondary, urban migration, 380% of past school attenders. werein towns.As or technicalschoolsand 7900 of thosewho had been to university commercial to 630 of administrators and 72% of thesefigures theygave employment might be expectedfrom themajority ofwhomwereunder25, and clerks;but theyalso contained 3800 of the unemployed, The townsalso housed a disproportionate migrants. manyof whom were doubtlessrural-urban married,20 as well as thosewho had nevermarried.2' numberof personsmonogamously to the returnees and permanent and thebackflow oftemporary migration Finally,rural-urban the villageto the migrants in the town,have producedan urbanfrom village,as well as visitors ofsocialand economic change on a national scalewhichhas madethediffusion ruralhumannetwork help to raise from easy. It has also ensuredthattownearnings urbanto ruralareas comparatively of some remote villages theexamination rurallivingstanidards; indeed,as is discussedelsewhere,22 of goods and serthe provision show thatit was the arrivalof thismoneywhichfirst encouraged a necessary of the subsistence ruraleconomy, vices forsale and whichbegan the dissolution step in raisingrurallivingstandards.
18J.C. Caldwell, The case in a developing country: as evidence ofincipient decline fertility differentials 'Fertility of Ghana',Population Studies,2I, I, (July i967), pp. 5-2I. "I The datain this I960 PopulationCensusof Ghana, Vols.III, IV, AdvanceReporton Vols. aretaken from analysis

III and IV, and Special ReportA. 20 Caldwell, et al., op. cit., p. 72. in Birmingham 21 Tetteh, et al., op. cit., p. 202. in Birmingham 22 Caldwell, AfricanRural-Urban Migration,op. cit.