Urban Migration in Dhaka City

Urban Migration in Dhaka City

Gnews Banner

Migration is generally the permanent or semi-permanent changes of residents within or outside of a country. Migration within a country is called internal migration and out of a country is international migration.“The sole cause of man’s unhappiness,” quipped Pascal in the seventeenth century, “is that he does not know to stay quietly in his room” (Weeks, 10th edition). “If this is so, unhappiness is enjoying unprecedented popularity as people are choosing to leave their rooms, so to speak, in record numbers. Sometimes they are fleeing from unhappiness; sometimes they are producing it. Always they are responding to and, in their turn, creating change” (Weeks, 10th edition). Besides unhappiness, sometimes happiness brings migrations.

However, whatever the causes of migration “migration transition” occurred for both internal migration and international migration as well. Due to the vast internal migration “urban transition” happened and happened in Bangladesh. Migration is increasing with increasing remittance for both internal and international as well though there are many problems faced by migrants. Govt. of Bangladesh also works for the development of Migrants.

A brief profile of Dhaka City

Dhaka City is centrally located in Bangladesh, in the southern part of the district of Dhaka. It is situated between latitudes 24º40´ N to 24º54´ N and longitudes 90º20´ E to 90º30´ E and defined by the Buriganga River in the south; the Balu and the Shitalakhya rivers in the east; Tongi Khal in the north and the Turag river in the west. The city has developed on the higher elevated Pleistocene terrace land or Order Alluvium of the central part of Bangladesh, otherwise referred to as the Madhupur-Bhawal Garh Region. In addition, a substantial portion of the adjoining low lying areas has recently been brought under the structured zones of the city due to the accelerated rate of urban growth in Dhaka.2According to the adjusted population of the 2001 Census the size of Dhaka’s population is 10,712,206 of which 5978482 are male and 4733724 are female. This makes Dhaka a megacity. The population growth of Dhaka stands at 56.5% in the last decade, which is very high. This means that during the last decade the city’s population has grown by 3,868,077. The sex ratio of the population is calculated as 123.4 based on the current population census.

Urbn Migration

Moreover, the sex ratio of Dhaka City has decreased over the years due mainly to the reunion of females to their male partners living in the city and the increase in the number of single females in the urban workforce. The number of Dhaka City’s young population is relatively high due to age-selective rural-urban migration. About 40% of the total city’s population is in the unproductive age groups of 0-14 and 60 and over, which indicates a high dependency burden on the working-age population.  The high dependency ratio among the city’s population causes poverty, especially among the low-income groups in the city. 3. National urban growth and Dhaka City’s predominance 3.1. The trend of urbanization and urban growth The growth of the urban population in Bangladesh prior to the 20th century cannot be termed urbanization in the truest sense because the change in rural life concomitant with urbanization was not evident.8 The growth of the urban population in Bangladesh since 1901 is depicted through the following periods. In 1901 only 2.43% of the country’s population lived in urban centers.

Trends of Migration in Bangladesh

The net migration increased in urban areas than in rural areas. Rahman et. al(1996) found that nearly two-thirds of emigration from rural to urban areas. The figure for rural-rural migration was 10% and was 24% for overseas migration.

The rate of internal migration in 2011 is 9.7 which indicates that among 100 populations 9.7 people migrate internally from one place to other. This rate was 10.02 in 1991. And in 2004, it was 9.34 which is nearly 0.36 less than 2011 and 0.68 less than that of 1991. Though this rate is high in 2011 0.32% lower than that of 1991 see the figure below.

Reasons behind Migration:

In every consideration of migration, there are usually some combinations of factors pushing or not pushing the persons from the area of origin and pulling or not pulling the person to the area of destination.

Migration push factors can be classified in various phases i.e. Social, political, Economic, Environmental, etc. the major migration push factors are:

  • Loss of a Job
  • Discrimination
  • Low Availability of Social and Life Partners
  • Community Catastrophes such as a flood, epidemic, or hurricane

In the case of the migration scenario of Bangladesh, according to Anwara Begum (1999), various push factors worked behind this. All of the factors can be divided into 3 categories.

Migration Pull Factors include:

  • Better chances of employment
  • Education
  • Income
  • Gentler Environment in terms of climate and living conditions
  • Race and Sexual orientation

Urban Migration in Dhaka City issue from (2010-2020)

The 2013 survey examined the differences between male and female migration, alongside any significant socio-demographic factors that might contribute to their motivation for moving to the city. The survey revealed that a majority of women (64.8%) migrated for family purposes, for example, joining husbands or in-laws, or parents/children. However, in recent years, female migrants have been involved in income-generating activities mostly due to a recent garment-making boom in Dhaka and its suburbs. A higher proportion of men (85.3%) moved to urban areas for work-related reasons: searching for new jobs, better income, or transfer in services. Among the sample in this study, 77% of the respondents (79.3% female and 73.5% male) migrated from villages. This migration mostly centered on Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, where 68.1% of the total study sample migrated followed by 15.7% who went to Chittagong.

Dhaka, July 19, 2017- With 36 percent of the country’s urban population living in Greater Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh has become one of the world’s most densely populated cities. … Dhaka’s urban development has not kept up with the city’s rapid growth, resulting in a messy and uneven urbanization process.

The World Bank says Dhaka, with its current population of 15 million people, bears the distinction of being the fastest-growing in the world. Between 1990 and 2005, the city doubled in size — from 6 to 12 million.

Population growth:

Here is the population growth of Bangladesh. Population growth also increases migration.


Urban Migration in Dhaka City issue from2000-2010

In this era, there had been a changed political environment which caused a negative impact on migration. In this decade there were several changes in politics that are why the changes in the economy became slower than previous. Natural disaster also influences people to migrate people in Dhaka. In 2007 there attacked a cyclone called Sidar that affected the economic growth and also the people in the region of the affected area could not get food and accommodation that’s why they migrated to the city to continue their livelihood. Though the unstable situation, the railway system was developed in this decade. And that was another opportunity to migrate to Dhaka. Here is the graph, where shows the effects of those critical situations. Because of the environmental and political situation, the trends of poverty ratio became slow.

Urban Migration in Dhaka City issue from (1990-2000)


Dhaka”s transport patterns is fairly typical of a society that has very low levels of per capita income. According to a study of the urban poor conducted for the United Nations Children”s Fund by the Centre for Urban Studies, more than 80 percent of residents in the study area could not afford to pay for any type of transportation and traveled to their place of work on foot.


The paper analyses changes in educational attainment during the first half of the 2000s.Primary gross enrolment rates have stagnated since the 2000s, although improvements in net rates mean more children of primary school age were attending primary school in 2000. Overall, the paper shows that there has been improvement in primary school completion rates since 2000 that was driven largely by increases in enrolment during the 1990s.

 Tourism development

Bangladesh is a country of natural beauty, hilly mountains, longest beach, favorable climate, seven seasons which are the key factors to develop eco-tourism, sustainable tourism, and rural tourism. Bangladesh has many archeological and historical sites too. And the hospitality of people and local culture, lifestyle is a unique selling point. Tourism is a growing industry in Bangladesh. It generated  25,000 international tourists in  1994 and international tourism generated US$1.5 million in export earnings and international tourist arrivals grew by 4.3%in 1994 to 1.133 million.

Reasons of migration

MILLIONS of people are now leaving their poor rural surroundings, once the hub of their dreams and aspirations, for the lights, action, and glimmer of opportunities that big cities of the country seem to offer. The lure of that apparently happy crowd has transformed the cities, once-sleepy towns, or manageable urban centers, into bursting human hives. From Dhaka to Chittagong and even to Khulna, there is no turning back. These changes within the two principal cities, Dhaka and Chittagong, have come with an awesome swiftness that has caught the already laggard administration unprepared. The capital city of Dhaka, which was designed to accommodate 10 lakh people at best in the ’60s, now teems with more than 100 million people — with a population density of 10,000 persons per sq km according to statistics revealed by the press. Now there are as many as 3.5 lakh mechanized vehicles plying on the city streets, choking the city in blue noxious fumes that are highly hazardous to health. Dhaka city has only 220 km primary roads, but automobiles in the capital lined up bumper to bumper in single file would stretch longer than this. The city is suffering serious growing pains. There is hardly any single decent sidewalk or pavement for people to walk on. Shockingly true, the pedestrians in the city seem to be hunted animals. Pathetically, there has hardly been any effort to stop this menacing avarice of enhancing wealth through such sinister means, other than the drives that a team of BSTI officials and judicial magistrates have launched in recent times to put an end to this menacing trade of killing people by producing and marketing adulterated food items. The ills, squalor, poverty, and crime in the dying Dhaka city have frustrated the people’s hopes and aspirations of a happy and healthy life.

 Public sector

There has been a radical change in GDP since independence. GDP per capita increased from US dollar 200 in the 1900s to around US dollar 1990 in 2000 in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. This has been possible due to the sharp increase in GDP over the period. The average GDP growth rate was 2-3 percent in the 1990s which rose to around 3.5 percent during the 1995s. Along with maintaining economic stabilization with a significantly reduced and declining dependence on foreign aid, the economy appeared to begin a transition from stabilization to growth in the 1990s.7 GDP growth rate accelerated to 4.5 percent in the first half of the 1990s and to 5 percent in the second half of that decade. It hovered around 6 percent over the first decade of the 21st century. Since our population growth rate was below 1.5 percent per annum during this decade, over a 4.5 percent growth in per capita GDP was very commendable. Bangladesh is now progressing towards attending a growth rate of 7-8 percent per annum which will graduate Bangladesh towards a middle-income country very soon.



Urban Migration in Dhaka City issue from (1970 to 1980)

After the liberation of Bangladesh, there was an explosive growth of big cities.28 Cities with a population of 100,000 increased from 4% in 1961 to 6% in 1974, 13% in 1981 to 23% in 1991.This shows an increase of about 83% during 1961-91. And the total number of urban centers increased from 78 in 1961 to 92 in 1991, an increase of over 47% during a span of 30 years. The growth of urban centers by size/class indicates that there is a strong association between city size and city growth rates, that is the large and medium-sized cities are increasing more rapidly simply because of the graduation of cities occurring in that class. From 1961 to 1981 and those with a population of less than 5,000 increased from 10 to 168. The urban population of Bangladesh grew at a much faster rate from 1961-1974 (8.8%) and reached its peak during the period 1974-1981 (10.97%). And about 30% of the total increase during 1974-1981 can be explained by the extended definition of urban areas in 1981.


Urban Migration in Dhaka City issue from (1950-1970)

Dhaka city is designed to accommodate 10 lakh but recently accommodate 100 million. Recently density 10,000 per kilometers. Every year urban migrate 5 lakh in Dhaka city. Half of the people of Dhaka City live in poverty and 45% are under slum dwellers.

Causes of migration: River erosion victim, higher education, landlessness, homelessness, natural disaster, job opportunity natural population, higher-income probability, better service facilities.

Many movements occurred such as the divided county of 1947, the language movement of 1952,six-point movement of 1966. These movements occurred and many people migrate in that time.

Urban Migration in Dhaka City issue from ( 1920-1950)


Economic Migration

The interwar period in the United States, and in the rest of the world, is a most interesting era. The decade of the 1930s marks the most severe depression in our history and ushered in sweeping changes in the role of government. Economists and historians have rightly given much attention to that decade. However, with all of this concern about the growing and developing role of government in economic activity in the 1930s, the decade of the 1920s often tends to get overlooked. This is unfortunate because the 1920s are a period of vigorous, vital economic growth. It marks the first truly modern decade and dramatic economic developments are found in those years. There is the rapid adoption of the automobile to the detriment of passenger rail travel.

Though suburbs had been growing since the late nineteenth century their growth had been tied to rail or trolley access and this was limited to the largest cities. The flexibility of car access changed this and the growth of suburbs began to accelerate. The demands of trucks and cars led to rapid growth in the construction of all-weather surfaced roads to facilitate their movement. The rapidly expanding electric utility networks led to new consumer appliances and new types of lighting and heating for homes and businesses. The introduction of the radio, radio stations, and commercial radio networks began to break up rural isolation, as did the expansion of local and long-distance telephone communications. Recreational activities such as traveling, going to movies, and professional sports became major businesses. The period saw major innovations in business organization and manufacturing technology. The Federal Reserve System first tested its powers and the United States moved to a dominant position in international trade and global business. These things make the 1920s a period of considerable importance independent of what happened in the 1930s.

Educational Migration

Following a trend towards progressive education which began earlier in the twentieth century, reforms continued in school curricula, teacher training, and styles of instruction during the 1920s. In accordance with the progressive education movement (which focused on educating the whole person instead of enforcing the memorization of key facts), educators conducted laboratory studies, tracked educational statistics, and published the results of their findings. The resulting body of work described the habits and performance of the American student. These studies were analyzed and used to enact further reforms in educational psychology and philosophy.

To match the rapidly changing times, educational methods and classroom curricula were altered dramatically during the 1950s. Initially, the philosophy of “progressive education” prevailed, emphasizing the individual student’s mental, emotional, and physical development, and foregoing the traditional methods of teaching basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills. High schools offered vocational training, plus such electives as photography, botany, and infant care.

Tourism Migration

During the 1920s the tourism industry saw spectacular growth with the rebuilding of the British Colonial Hotel in 1923. In the 1920s, the era of prohibition of the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the United States, Nassau was a center for rum-running and again profited substantially from revenues derived from that trade. Though not spoken loudly some of the islands’ most influential families can trace their wealth back to this period. But once prohibition was repealed in 1933 this economic activity collapsed.

The Government commits to developing a year-round tourism industry The 1930s had shown the potential of a viable tourism industry. In 1938 The Bahamas received 57,394 tourists of whom 10,000 were stay over. In 1941 Pan Am had begun its first nonstop nonseaplane service between Florida and Nassau. So it was that in the late 1940s, following the end of the Second World War, the Government looked back at its economic history of short-lived booms followed by desperate slumps and decided it would develop two primary areas of economic activity, first a year-round tourism industry and second an offshore financial services sector, in an attempt to create a stable economy. In 1949 The Bahamas received just 32,000 tourists. In 1949 the Government passed a Hotels Encouragement Act (substantially amended in 1954) designed to stimulate the construction of hotels by offering a refund of customs duties and other similar concessions. In 1950 Sir Stafford Sands, a leading member of the island’s Government, revived the Tourism Development Board, gave it a budget of $500,000 which is used for extensive advertising and the opening of five overseas offices in North America and Europe.

Gnews Banner
Gnews Banner

Leave A Comment