Internal Migration and its Impact on Big Cities


Migration within the country is perceived to have both positive and negative effects. Therefore, it is necessary to devise such policies of migration that could neutralize the negative effects of migration. This would call for continuous interaction with the local community during the whole process of policy formulation. The following recommendations are made for the formulation of policy: 

  • During the period of internal migration, the male members have to normally remain out of their hometowns for a long time. There are a number of cases in which the female is left alone to look after the household routines. The consequence of the prolonged absence of males is the emergence of the house in which females are required to perform all the roles of the male. This can be extremely consequential for the future family structure of the migrant household. This necessarily enhances the status of the woman in the family which cannot be reduced. This brings a change in direction of the family affairs. Therefore, the policy should be formulated to ease the transition from tradition to modernity in the function and structure of the family in Pakistan. 
  • The migrants tend to stimulate disintegration at various levels of social organization. This aspect of migration needs permanent investigation. Measures are to be taken so that the adverse impact of disintegration is neutralized as effectively as possible. 
  • To improve the quality of life of the migrant families and especially female migrants, policy-makers and NGOs must consider that the young migrants both male and female must be encouraged to complete their education at least up to secondary level. Further short-term skill development training must be given to them so that they can get better employment. Other than these, women must be given training in small-scale trade and retail business coupled with micro credit that would facilitate women to establish their own small enterprises at home or very close to home. 
  • In addition, the government with the help of NGOs must establish low-cost educational and health facilities in areas where a large number of rural to urban migrants are crowded. Moreover, the government must pay attention to rural development and give importance to agriculture, infrastructure, skill development training, coupled with easy borrowing, so that the rural population especially the landless class can get employment opportunities in rural areas. This will reduce the unnecessary load of the extra population on the urban infrastructure as it will fairly curtail the migration of people from rural to urban areas.
  • In order to cope with the situation, the government is required to create a better economic and healthy environment in urban areas besides providing basic economic and health facilities in the slum areas. For this purpose, it is necessary to provide adequate infrastructures, such as roads, houses, electricity, water and sanitation services, public transportation, schools, and health clinics. The transformation of the slum areas also needs to be legitimized.


Abbasi, Nasreen (1987) Urbanisation in Pakistan: 1951-81, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad. (Research Report No. 177.) 

  1. Abbasi, Nasreen and M. Irfan (1983) Socio-economic Effects of International Migration on the Families Left Behind, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad. (Studies in Population, Labour Force, and Migration Project Report No. 7).
  2. Alia H. Khan, LubnaShahnaz – Determinants of Internal Migration in Pakistan: Evidence from the Labour Force Survey, 1996-97 – Research Paper.
  3. Arif, G. M. (2003) Urbanisation in Pakistan: Trends, Growth and Evaluation of the 1998 Census.
  4. Arif, G.M, (2003). Urbanization in Pakistan: Trends, Growth and Evaluation of the 1998 Census”,

Population of Pakistan: An Analysis of 1998 Population and Housing Census, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics/UNFPA, Islamabad.

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