Covid-19 impacts rural and urban migration trends

By Albert Nxumalo

The Covid-19 lockdown has significantly impacted on migration trends in Zimbabwe with a recent study revealing that about 12 percent of people have moved from urban to rural areas.

The findings are from a survey conducted from August 24th to September 23rd, 2020 by Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT), in partnership with the World Bank and UNICEF.

The survey referred to as the Rapid PICES Monitoring Telephone Survey builds on the Poverty, Income, Consumption and Expenditure Surveys (PICES) of 2017 and 2019 and used a sample of 1747 households in round 1 and 1639 households in round 2 from all the ten provinces of Zimbabwe.

Reads part of the report seen by CITE: “Since mid-March 2020, 3 percent of households had moved from one location to another. Of households that moved, most of them (62 percent) moved from one urban area to another urban area and 26 percent moved from one rural area to another rural area”.

The report does not highlight which provinces were highly affected.

However, a small population migrated to rural areas from urban zones.

“Only 12 percent migrated from urban areas to rural areas while no household moved from rural to urban areas. This means that the Covid-19 lockdown had an impact on migration trends,” reads the report.

According to the report, food insecurity in the country has worsened since 2019.

“About 31 percent of rural and 18 percent of urban households faced severe food insecurity, while 75 percent of rural households and 65 percent of urban households faced moderate food insecurity in July.”

The share of households that were able to buy basic food items increased slightly between rounds 1 and 2, the proportion of those that were able to buy maize meal rose from 41 to 43 percent with that for cooking oil rising from 41 to 46 percent, while that for chicken rose from 15 to 18 percent.

“The share trying to buy maize meal fell from 64 to 59 percent, cooking oil from 76 to 70 percent, and chicken from 67 to 56 percent,” says the report.

On access to health services, the report says a “slightly higher fraction was able to access treatment (86 percent in the second round in August-September 2020 vs. 79 percent in the first survey round in July 2020).”

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