Breaking traditional bonds analysis of female rural-urban migration in Kenya

Date of Completion

January 1999


Women's Studies|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies|Sociology, Demography




This dissertation undertakes an analysis of female rural to urban migration in Kenya. The main goal of this study is to identify some of the factors contributing to female rural-to-urban migration in Kenya. A basic argument of the study is that as more women become educated, and gain skills suited to off-farm activities, the consequence is an increase in their migration to urban areas in search of non-manual jobs. The data obtained from primary sources—291 migrant women and 186 non-migrant women—reveal that there is a class distinction among migrant women. The better educated who arrive in the urban centers with relatives or on their own to seek employment in the formal sector, and the less educated who are brought into the urban centers to work in the informal sector. As a whole, migrant women were better educated than non-migrants. The majority of Abagusii and Luhya women are more apt to have some high school or college education prior to the move than Luo migrants. Abagusii women were more likely than Luhya or Luo to be single at the time of the move. But Luhya and Luo women were much younger than Abagusii at the time of migrating to the urban centers. Female rural-to-urban migration is highly characteristic of single women with more education. These qualities, combined with contacts in the urban center, increase one's chances of migrating. The data support the hypothesis that; contacts, marital Status, education, and occupation are positively associated with migration. Female migration is motivated by much the same reasons as male migration. ^