Dhaka,  Saturday
15 June 2024

Rising inflation drives city dwellers back to villages

Sanjay Adhikari Rony, Dhaka

Published: 08:12, 23 May 2024

Rising inflation drives city dwellers back to villages

Photo : Messenger

Every day, a significant number of people leave villages for various needs or to establish permanent residence elsewhere, with a substantial portion targeting Dhaka to try their luck. The capital city of around 20 million people has a population density of about 35,000 people per square kilometre.

Daily, villagers flock to the city for reasons such as education, employment, medical treatment, and the hope of a better life. While the number of people migrating to the city had increased significantly in recent years, it suddenly stopped last year. Instead, in 2023, the number of people leaving Dhaka for rural areas has risen.

According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the number of people moving from urban to rural areas has more than doubled in two years. In 2021, 5.9 people per thousand migrated from urban to rural areas, and in 2023, the number increased to 13.8 people. This figure was 0.7 people in 2019 and rose to 8.4 people in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic's impact. In 2022, this number stood at 10.9 people.

Stakeholders cited the higher cost of living in Dhaka city, where expenses often exceed income. With rising commodity prices, maintaining a family in Dhaka has become challenging. Children's education costs have increased, and house rents rise yearly, making it difficult to align monthly expenses with income. Many people are leaving Dhaka and returning to their villages primarily due to these reasons.

Golam Rahman, president of the Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB), told The Daily Messenger, “Many facilities have been created in villages. Many city amenities are now available in rural areas. Moreover, after hearing about the city's hardships from neighbors, many people are less interested in moving there. The standard of living in the city is not what it used to be. It has become very difficult. So, people are now less inclined to come to the city.”

On the other hand, according to the BBS report, the number of people migrating from villages to cities has decreased by about 7 per thousand. In 2019, 15 people per thousand migrated from rural to urban areas, decreasing to 12.7 people in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the number increased to 18.4 people, and in 2022, it rose to 26.4 people. However, in 2023, the number of people moving from rural to urban areas has decreased to 19.6 per thousand.

In times of rising commodity prices, life is more comfortable in villages than in cities. Moreover, educated unemployed youths are becoming entrepreneurs instead of chasing jobs in the city. They are providing various job opportunities in villages. Besides, villages are gradually transforming into cities, with various urban amenities now available in rural areas. One can easily enjoy various city facilities from the village. Mainly due to these reasons, the number of people migrating from villages to cities is decreasing.

In this regard, Dr. Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), told The Daily Messenger, “Now agricultural wages are increasing, and the income of productive people involved in agricultural work is rising. It is a question whether this phenomenon makes some people village-oriented.”

“And as villages are becoming cities, various opportunities are being created in sub-cities – factors that encourage people to stay in villages. Due to rising costs, people are moving from cities to villages and staying there, as the costs are relatively affordable,” he added.

Messenger/Fameema

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