Why are Yemenis Immigrating from  Villages to Cities? [Archives:2000/12/Focus]

March 20 2000

By: Abdulhakeem Hashem

Yemen is considered to be as one of the countries that does not have any factors of attraction. The evidence of the history is shown clear since the destruction of Mareb Dam in BC 570. The old Yemeni interior migration is distinguished that it is a collective in taking decision, and in residing in the country of settlement. It is not like the modern personal migrations that do not aim at settlement.
There are such normal and human factors that played an effective role in migration volume. One of those factors is population topography, and the fertile soil, which encourages settlement. The second factor is the problem of climate where people can not stay in those areas that do not have any factors of attraction like the desert of the empty quarter and some other Eastern places. In addition to this, we find the political circumstances and the absence of stability that Yemen is witnessing up to the present time. All of these factors made Yemeni people to leave their country.
Why did Migration Moved into inside?
Because of the bad economic circumstances that prevailed in Yemen before independence, and the inability of the state to control whole Yemeni land, therefore, Yemeni people migrated inside the country instead of migrating abroad.
Political, economic and security circumstances that witnessed a little improvement after the Revolution, and the appearance of new cities made people emigrate towards inside. The economic progress in the Gulf and Peninsula states, and the availability of vacancies in those countries made those countries as attractive places. But the Gulf War which took place in 1991 was the turning point in migration process, where we found thousands of migrants returned back to their countries. This problem increased more and more throughout the time. Then, migration turned from traveling abroad to migrate inside the country.
The difference in vacancies, services and health improvement between governorates caused by health awareness of people amongst the traditional behavior of procreation, polygamy and earlier pregnancy. This increased the rate of sustaining small children. The increase of unemployment and the inability of agricultural sector to absorb these outputs, besides the normal phenomena as draught and the change in soil made laborers seek for work inside country to improve their living.
Factors of migration:
1- It is represented by the distance between birth governorate and residence governorate. We find that most of those people who leave to Aden are from Taiz, Lahj and Abyan.
2- Vacancies: Vacancies and progress of the petroleum establishments played an important role in migration determination. We find that the Capital Secretariat, Hodeida, Hadramaut, Shabwah and Mareb are the governorates that attract population.
Kinds of Migration: It is divided into two kinds:
a) Coming Migration:
It deals with the distribution of migrants amongst governorates that have factors of attraction like the Capital Secretariat, Aden and Hodeida.
The Capital Secretariat:
It is one of the most cities that attracts migrants because it is the center of works and services. The rate of interior migration in it accounts to 52%. Twenty-seven per cent of people came to it from Sana’a governorate, 20% from Taiz and 18% from Ibb governorate.
The rate of migration in this city accounts to 12%. 28% came to it from Lahj, 21% from Abyan and 20% from Taiz.
Hodeida is considered as one of the new governorate that is full of the economic activity. This makes it receive 11% of migrants. 36% of migrants come from Taiz and 17% from Sana’a. Hadramaut, Taiz, Sadda, Haja and Mareb are considered as the governorates which do not have any factors of attraction.

b) Outward migration:
It deals with the study of those people who migrate from governorates that do not have factors of attraction. We find that Taiz governorate is one of the governorates that does not have any factors of attraction because of the increase of population, diffusion of education, narrowness of soil area and unbalance of the process of development. It participates with 20% of the total migrants. 50% of Taiz migrants direct towards the Capital Secretariat, 20% to Hodeida and 13% to Aden.
Sana’a Governorate:
It comes in the second position, where we find 18% of migrants move to the Capital Secretariat up to 76% of the total migrants, 11% to Hodeida and 03% to Taiz.
The rate of migrants in this city accounts to 16% of the total migrants. Most of the migrants directed to the Capital Secretariat up to 58%, 22% to Taiz and 04% to Aden.
Some governorates as Dhamar and Lahj are the governorates that do not have factors of attraction, while Aden and Mareb are less attractive cities.
Demographic, Social and economic Features of Migrants are:
Migrants have certain features that are different from others. Some of these features are as follows:-
1- Age:
According to the statistics of 1994, there is 08% of resident population were moved from place to place. The rate of males is 60% and 40% of females. It is clear that about 25% of males are between (20-24-years), while females are between (10-19). The reason of this matter is that this age of males is the age of work, while females in this age are working at homes.
2- Educational Features:
As we compare migrants with residents, we find that illiteracy increases amongst residents more than migrants. We also find that those who have educational degrees leave the country to find better vacancies.
It is shown clear that the rate of females amongst migrants is decreased. This is due to that females migrate with their husbands and families, but there are a few of them who migrate in the sake of studies.
3- Marriage Features:
The rate of married migrants increased in comparison with residents because of the requirements of marriage that compels them to migrate to insure their living. The total rate of married migrants’ accounts to 56% , and the rate of those women who are married accounts to 60%.
Working Power Features:

1- The relation with working power:- 
According to the economic activity, population is divided into two categories:
a) Those who are economically active by doing certain works.
b) Those who are not active and do not work at all.
Hence, we find that the active migrants are more active than residents. The rate of migrants who are working accounts to 70%, while the rate of those residents who are not active accounts to 57%. On the other side, we find that the rate of the residents’ females who are active accounts to 16%, and the migrants’ females’ accounts to 08%.
Unemployment rate is decreased with migrants up to 08%, and with those who are not migrants it accounts to 05%, in females it is vice-versa.
Regarding those who are not active, we find that the rate of students accounts to 83% of males, while the rate of migrants females who are working at homes accounts to 71%, females students 23%. But the rate of females who are not migrants and do not work is 15%.
2- Practical Status:
In this case, we find that the high rate of migrants who are working accounts to 75% of both males and females. This is because of that the sake of migration is to get money. Regarding working with family, we find that there is an increase in the rate of those who are not migrants. It is 11% of males and 75% of females.
Those who work for themselves are bound to stay at the place where they are working. However, working with family refers to the tradition of Yemeni society, where we find women work at farms. This makes women stay at the rural areas instead of migrating abroad.
4- Economic Activity:
The increase of the rate of migrants belongs to that most of them are employees in the public or private sector, while the rate of those who work in agriculture and fishing accounts to 51%. The rate of educated woman migrants accounts to 25%. Public sector takes 16% and agriculture and fishing sectors take 19%. The reason behind this is that women migrate because they want to marry. The second reason for women’s migration is that they are educated and migrate to work in the public sector and in the other sectors.
Negative Phenomena of Interior Migration:
The random interior migration causes many negative phenomena in the plans and programs of development. It also causes other bad effects as:
1. Labor force emigrates from rural areas, the agricultural sector and soil areas decline. The statistics indicate that agricultural sector lost more than half million of workers.
2. Prevailing unemployment because of the decrease of supply in vacancies with comparison demand increase.
3. Making the city as a rural area, where we find a setback in the process of national development. A huge number of people emigrated to live in the city as they were living in rural.
4. The social deviation amongst juveniles because of the situation of life on those groups.
5. Declining of traditional and handicraft industry caused by migration, and the need of better and easy works. In addition, there is the influence of import on the local industries.
6. Depending on women and children working in soil areas. This is caused by students who left schools, and the inability of women to continue working in soil areas.
7. Services sectors are not able to fulfill the needs of those people who come to live in the city.
The Required Governmental Role:
We can say that there is a fault in the development program. This needs more work and cooperation by the state. The solution of this problem represents by the following:-
1. Attempting on the agricultural sector through finding projects in the rural areas to make vacancies, to preserve soils and to fulfill the need of local market.
2. Expanding reconstructing dams and water partitions to preserve water, and finding marketing policy to encourage continuity in agricultural work.
3. The development program must include all governorates to harmonize with the rate of population and their economic and social levels. The equivalent distribution and appropriate use of natural materials serve stability of population.
4. There must be an accurate planning for the main cities to absorb any increase of population and avoid negative results of migration.
5. Putting programs to protect traditional and handicraft industry, opening markets for that industries and observing importing similar goods.
6. Preparing a map for distributing the different economic activities and the industrial and invested establishments throughout the Republic. This must be done in order to reduce random interior migration.