In a world where people are inclined to move to urban areas and where 49 percent of the world population lived in urban areas in 2005, the urban population is expected to be 60 percent of the global population in the year 2030. The majority of the increase of urban residents is anticipated to occur in urban areas of less developed regions. Although studies in developing countries frequently show that livelihood opportunities in these urban areas are far from many, the urban population increases to grow. People who come to the urban area with hope of advanced life opportunities end up having a hard time finding somewhere to live. Often, rural-urban migrates have to settle down in shantytowns outside the actual city. This results in the fact that there are many people living with bad surroundings without any type of security, fresh water, waste systems or health services.3 Nevertheless, it is expected that people will continue to move to urban areas in developing countries, which might be because they have few other options.

To understand the overall rural-urban migration process it is important to look at in which context the migration occurs and what kind of meaning migrants give to the rural and to the urban lifestyle. In this essay the main focus will be placed on the migrant’s views, experiences and attitudes about their own migration process. 

Problem and aim of the study

The purpose with this study is to reach an overall understanding of the rural-urban migration process in Babati in north-central Tanzania by interviewing rural-urban migrants. The focus will be on women and men in the ages 16 to 24. In order to understand the whole process of rural-urban migration, the migration histories will be centered in this essay. It is important to understand how the migrants see and understand rural and urban life, and what kind of meaning they give to these. In the search to understand the process, I will therefore look at what people thought about and how they imagined urban life while living in the rural area, how they experienced life in the rural area and for which reasons they decided to leave the rural area. In order to see if the women’s and men’s experiences are alike or if they differ in any substantial way I will make a comparison between them. This leads to my main research questions:

What kind of images and attitudes do young rural-urban migrants, in the ages 16 to 24, have about the rural way of living and the urban life? Do the women’s attitudes and images differ from the men’s? 

Furthermore, I want to find out if the images and attitudes that the women and men had about the urban area was realized, once they had settled in the city. Therefore I will examine if the urban area lived up to the migrants expectations and if the urban life was liked they had hoped. This leads to the following question:

To what extent were the expectations about urban life realized once the young rural-urban migrants had settled in the urban area? 

To obtain the overall picture of the migration process I will briefly explore the push and pull factors of the migration. This leads to my final research question:

 What are the factors and motives behind the rural-urban migration to Babati? Which are the factors that push young women and young men away from rural areas and which are the factors that pull them to the urban area of Babati? 

Methods and materials

To give a background to the questions examined in this essay the essay will begin with a brief history of migration movements in Tanzania. 

To obtain a theoretical background to migration processes I have looked at classical migration theories and what has been written about migration in Tanzania. I make a brief introduction of the classical theories that I consider to be relevant in this study. Thereafter, I make a discussion about what has been written about migration in Tanzania. The information obtained from the literature study will serve as a base in the discussion of the results from the field study.

In order to describe the in-migration to Babati and the size of the urban population, it has been relevant to look at statistics from the statistical bureau of the United Republic of Tanzania. I have looked at the most recent census that was made in 2002.

When I arrived at the field area I got in touch with my local contact, Ally Msuya who helped me to get in contact with an interpreter. The interpreter was a local teacher called Elias Iyo without whom this work would not have been possible to carry out because of my lack of knowledge in the Swahili language. Elias, who had contact with many young people in Babati, helped me to get in touch with a substantial number of informants, for which I will be forever grateful for. 

Though, I was not familiar with Babati and the area surrounding the town I decided to get familiar with the town by walking around getting guidance from my local contact’s son Saidi Msuya. 

The research method used in the field was interviews with rural-urban migrants and potential urban migrants. Before starting the interviews I decided to introduce myself to the town office, the immigration office and the Distirct Council. The town office was pleased that I would do a field study about rural-urban migration to Babati and offered their assistance if I would come to need it.

Since this is a study of the overall understanding of the rural-urban migration process my main informants needed to have migrated from a rural area to the urban area of Babati. And because this is a study of the migration among young people the migrants had to be between the ages 16 to 24. 

Since the informants had to encompass the previous written criteria’s I got help from my interpreter to get in contact with some young people who fulfilled these. To find further informants I intended to use the method which Alan Bryman call chain-selections, that is, I tried to find new informants from the persons that I had interviewed. In most cases it was difficult to find new informants this way thus there were very few of the informants who knew other individuals that had moved to Babati. However my interpreter Elias Iyo had many contacts with young people hence he was a local teacher, therefore he came to play an important role in the search for new informants. As I have mentioned, I was able to get in touch with some informants using the chain-selection method although these informants is mainly the informants that are seen as potential migrants. The rural informants have been found through the interviews with the rural-urban migrants.

Well in contact with rural-urban migrants I conducted semi structured qualitative interviews with the informants. The purpose was to get as detailed answers as possible about the informants’ migration history. To acquire the information needed to answer the research questions in this essay I had an interview guide with the questions relevant for the specific purpose of this essay.

The collection of the material was performed mainly in workplaces but also in restaurants, homes and public places. The young people that I met did various things in the town and the reasons for why they moved to Babati vary from one individual to the next. 

After conducting the interviews with the rural-urban migrants I decided to visit some villages and interview some young people, also in the ages 16 to 24, that were living in the rural area. I did this because I wanted more information about how life was in the rural area