One Family, Two Households: Rural to Urban Migration in Kenya

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 6-2004


Many households in sub-Saharan Africa allocate their labor resources between rural and urban areas to diversify risks and maximize income. One such strategy would be for a husband in a rural area to migrate to an urban area while his wife and family remain in the rural area without any chance of joining the migrant husband in the urban area. The family maintains a rural home and an urban home. This article explores possible determinants of this type of migration using data from Kenya. Nontrivial findings suggest that such migratory behavior may be motivated by agglomeration effects of household size in the rural area, an increase in remittance by the migrant husband to his rural family, a relatively low education for the husband, and a high urban cost of living.


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