Rural-Urban Migration in West Africa: Toward a Reversal? Migration Trends, Economic Conjuncture, and Rural Development in Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire

Cris Beauchemin, Université de Montréal
Sabine Henry, Université de Montréal
Bruno D. Schoumaker, Université Catholique de Louvain

While most developed countries experienced at least one phase of reversal in their rural-urban migration flows since the 1970s, the same pattern is usually not expected in developing countries, especially in the less urbanized African countries. This study of migration trends in Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire documents that these two countries have experienced a renewal in their migration patterns in recent years. Empirical evidence from migration surveys shows that urban-to-rural migration is on the increase in both countries, while rural-to-urban migration has been declining. As a result, there is a clear pattern of 'counter-urbanization' in Côte d'Ivoire, while in Burkina Faso there is still a net gain in population in urban areas. The second part of this paper uses multilevel event history data to analyse the impact of contextual factors (economic factors, environmental conditions, level of rural development) on migration between urban and rural areas.

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Presented in Session 1: Internal Migration in Developing Countries I