Youth rural-urban migration in Bungoma, Kenya Implications for the agricultural workforce

By Elizabeth Karl Eckert, Eleanor Catherine Turner, Jo Anne Yeager Sallah

This study provides insights into a specific, hard-to-reach youth subpopulation—those born in agricultural areas in Western Kenya who migrate to large towns and cities—that is often missed by research and development activities. Using a mixed-methods approach, we find high variability in movement of youth between rural villages, towns, and large urban areas. Top reasons for youth migration align with existing literature, including pursuit of job opportunities and education. For youth from villages where crop farming is the primary economic activity for young adults, 77 percent responded that they are very interested in that work, in contrast to the common notion that youth are disinterested in agriculture. We also find many youth interested in settling permanently in their villages in the future. This research confirms that youth migration is dynamic, requiring that policymakers and development practitioners employ methods of engaging youth that recognize the diversity of profiles and mobility of this set of individuals.


Eckert, E. K., Turner, E. C., & Yeager Sallah , J. A. (2019). Youth rural-urban migration in Bungoma, Kenya: Implications for the agricultural workforce. (RTI Press Publication No. OP-0062-1908). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press.

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Elizabeth Karl EckertElizabeth Eckert, MA, Senior Food Security and Agriculture Specialist, RTI International

Eleanor Catherine TurnerEleanor Turner, MSc, Food Security and Agriculture Specialist,RTI International

Jo Anne Yeager SallahJo Anne Yeager Sallah, MSc, Senior Food Security and Agriculture Specialist, RTI International

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