Socio-economic assessment of urbanization problems and it’s impact on urban dwellers


The basic aim of this study is to assess the socio-economic problems of urbanization and it’s impact on urban dwellers and also find out a lasting solution to the problems of urbanization in Nigeria. Descriptive design was used. However, the instruments used for data collection were questionnaire, interview, and participant observation. A total of two hundred and fifty (250). Members of Abakaliki urban including the government officials and the public at large formed the sample size. The method used in the selection of the respondents was the stratified random sampling. The method used for analyzing the data was simple percentage. The study shows that the development of the rural areas could serve as a positive measure towards solving the problems of rural-urban migration in Nigerian cities. From the findings resulting from the data analysis, we concluded that urbanization problem significantly impact on rural and urban dwellers. Rural unemployment, housing problem, high crime rate, prostitution resulting to urbanization problems considered here. Based on the finding in this research work, there are certain measures that would be adopted if effective solution is to be achieved.

  1. The government and non-governmental organization (NGO) should embark on skill acquisition problems for job seekers.
  2. Diversification of industries will help in creating job opportunities in rural areas.
  3. The government should develop the rural areas by providing basic social infrastructures like good road, hospitals, schools etc.



1.1     Background of the Study

The rapid growth of urban cities and its impact of urban dwellers have been given much attention. According to Nneoma (2011), urbanization is closely linked to modernization, industrialization, and the sociological process of rationalization. This problem is more pronounced in Africa which has the most rapid growth rate of urban population than any other region in the world

Urbanization as we know it now began with the industrial revolution in the 18th century and has only been on the rise ever since (Charlie, 2012). Statistics tells us that half of the world’s population already lives in urban areas, with that number set to expand in the years to come (Janet, 2013). Our cities have been luring people for various reasons, the basic one being the hope of a better life.

According to Caldwell (1969), the rate of urban population has been very high affecting a forty one fold growth in a multiplication during the same period of nine times in Asia and Europe. This rapid growth rate is attributed to rural-urban migration and has left in it’s work numerous social problems.

According to Gilbert (2012), the process of urbanization represents the increase in the proportion of people living in towns and cities as a result of people movement from rural areas to urban areas, urbanization is widely accepted as a process with several consequences such as social, economic and it usually occurs in developing countries. This complex process knows a strong global dimension that overcomes the spatial barriers, acting as real centres of progress with a significant impact on natural resources and on life quality.

Almost 50 percent of people worldwide live in urban area. According to the united nation news centre, people migrate to cities from rural areas to start a family and search for more secure job opportunities urbanization changes the economic, social setup of a country or region which result to social problem.

Nigeria recorded a high urban growth during the 70s. Her buoyant economy precipitated by the oil boom led to the established of many industrial projects. There were therefore, ready deployments for both skilled and unskilled manpower thus leading to mass exodus of people from rural to urban areas. With this, came social problems which has been further aggravated by the depress economic.

There is high rate of unemployment, crime, prostitution, housing problems, juvenile delinquency and other socio-economic problems resulting from urbanization. The broad dimension of these problems has sparked off a series of reaction from the government towards curbing it.

This research work therefore, focused on Abakaliki with emphasis on the socio-economic problems of urbanization such as unemployment, crime rate, congestion, housing problems, prostitution and juvenile delinquency. Like other urban centre in Nigeria, Abakaliki has witnessed an unprecedented rural-urban drift immediately it was made the capital city of Ebonyi state latter in October 1996. There were establishment of industries and business groups, which makes it a centre of activities. This has resulted to unemployment and other socio-economic problems of urbanization.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Many African countries have experienced an alarming rate of urbanization growth in the recent time. The growth in rate was given as 6.5 percent and considered the greatest in the world (Adepoju, 2013).

With the setting of trading centre, industries and capital towns which could boast of such social amenities as pipe borne water supply, electricity bars and dance halls, the urban centre have been a lure for the predominantly Nigeria rural-urban population. The youths are most attracted and they form a high number of the rural-urban migrants. The town is seen as a place of ready mark. This idea is constantly being reinforce by the supposedly success stories of visiting urban areas. The increase in the urban population in recent years is due to large scale migration of people to urban areas in search of economic pursuit.

These immigrants put a great pressure on the available basic urban amenities and services, which are already overstrained. And in the same vein, with the flooding of the urban centre by the rural dwellers and educated youths in search of increasing elusive and in many cases non-existed modern sector jobs, social problems started emerging. The country is now witnessing an acute shortage of houses in the urban centre because of the population drift from the rural areas and this has caused rural degeneration and urban congestion.

It is the above condition that has elicited the recent concern from the government on housing estate programme, unemployment as well as crime rates are increasing causing the socio-economic problems on the urban dwellers unless something concrete is done, this problem will not only continue to be with us but eventually engulf everybody.

This research work therefore, is an attempt at analyzing this socio-economic problem of urbanization in Abakaliki. It will consider therefore, the factors, responsible for these problems and how these have resulted to crime, housing problems, congestion and unemployment. There are numerous other social problems associated with urbanization but only the above mentioned ones would be considered as the socio-economic problems.

1.3 Research Question

The following questions were posed to guide the research;

  1. What are the basic urbanization problems?
  2. What are the major causes of urbanization problems?
  3. What is the effect of these urbanization problems on urban dwellers?
  4. To what extent does job seeking behaviour relate to urbanization problems?
  5. To what extents does rural underdevelopment relate to urbanization problems?
  6. How can we tackle urbanization problems?

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study was to assess the relationship between socio-economic problem of urbanization and it’s impacts on urban dwellers. Hence the following objectives are;

  1. To assess the basic problems of urbanization.
  2. To examine the major causes of urbanization problems
  3. To determine the effect of these urbanization problems on urban dwellers.
  4. To examine the relationship between job seeking behaviour and urbanization problems.
  5. To assess the relationship between rural underdevelopment and urbanization problems.
  6. To find out how we can tackle urbanization problems.

1.5 Significant of the Study

The rate at which urbanization is affecting able bodies youths in seeking job opportunities in Abakaliki urban is quiet an interesting topic for research.

The major significant of this study after it’s completion is that, the findings and recommendation would be of paramount important to various institutions like government, urban developers. Non-governmental organization (NGOs) businessmen, urban dwellers, the youths, society and Abakaliki communities as a whole.   Though most study has been carried out based on urbanization. But this research will contribute to the existing knowledge on the problems of urban dwellers in Nigeria.

The research would stimulate other researchers to work on this topic and thus provide abundant data for further comparative and theoretical formulation similarly; the understanding of this study would contribute in no small measure to our knowledge of the effects of traditional in our rapidly changing society.

More so, this study will expose the problems caused by the mass exodus of youths from rural areas to   urban areas to the youths and equally contribute to the knowledge of NGOs in creating job opportunities to help the unemployed youths in the urban areas. This study will also enlighten urban developers on the proper urban planning and maintenance.

1.6 Definitions of Concepts

Urbanization: Is the concentration of population in localities defined administratively as urban according to Okereke (2004).

Urban: This refers to towns and cities with relative’s large and permanent settlement of social heterogeneous. (Wirth, 1939)

Rural Areas: These are areas outside the urban centres which are characterized by agriculture and traditional way of life.

Urban Areas: An urban is an area which has been transformed from agricultural way of life to an administrative, manufacturing area were social amenities are commonly found.

Migration: this refers to a geographical movement of persons from one place to another either within outside the country.

City: Lowed (1976) defined city as a relatively large dense settlement of social heterogeneous population.

Youth: United nation used the age category 15-24 years to define a youth while the common wealth used the age 15-29 years.

Sociologically, youth denote on interface between childhood and adulthood.

Community: It is seen as a body of person staying or living in the same locality.

Urban dwellers: These are people that live in a city.

Rural dwellers: These are people that does live in a cities.

Migrants: These are people that move from one region to another by chance, instinct or plan.

Impact: This means the power of making a strong immediate impression on something.

Urbanization problems: Is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change which has a negative consequence on the urban dwellers.

Assessment: This means the act of assessing or appraisal.



2.1 Review of Relevant Literature

       According to UNDP (1992) urbanization is a process of population concentration. It proceeds in two ways, the multiplication of points of concentration. It may occasionally or in some areas stop or actually recede, but the tendency is inherent in society for it to proceed until it is inhibited by adverse condition whether or not a saturation point an urban maturity followed by stabilization or will ever be reached is not known.

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