Moving to a city in search of work seems to pay off for many poor rural South Africans.
Data that track changes over time indicate that as many as 385 000 people were lifted from poverty between 2008 and 2014 after moving from rural to urban areas — their poverty levels were halved, together with a fall in unemployment. So government ambivalence about urbanisation should be replaced by a more positive and proactive approach.
The fate of people who uproot themselves and migrate to cities is widely discussed. Conventional wisdom says that most end up living in shack settlements, where they struggle to make ends meet because they lack the skills to compete for the paltry jobs available. Their frustrations give rise to protests, land invasions and other forms of antisocial behaviour.
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