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Diversification of livelihood in Rural-urban Fringe as an Impact of Urbanization

Diversification of livelihood in Rural-urban Fringe as an Impact of Urbanization

Urbanization has led to expansion of cities, growth and development of sub-urbs, also known as rural-urban fringe, surrounding cities all around the globe. Sinha & Bala (2016) discusses Rural-urban fringe as a zone of transition, in land use and social and demographic characteristics, lying between the continuously built up urban and sub-urban areas with declining tendency of urban characteristics towards the rural area. The rural-urban fringe is “a spatial segment that exists between the city and the rural countryside” having homogeneity in terms of population and land use (Dikshit,2011) and inhabits population in-migrated from the surrounding villages and urban centres. The homogeneity of this geographical space is turning gradually into heterogeneity in terms of occupation and social structure. Two of the main trends that a fringe area has seen in recent decade is ‘shift out of agriculture’ and ‘E-RGM’ (Employment-Related Geographical Mobility). There are several driving actors which push people from fringe towards city to provide diverse services to the city and diversify their occupation. The agricultural households have been prone to opt diverse occupation, migration and daily commuting to nearby city as a coping strategy to livelihood shocks.  Census and other national surveys have documented employment shift out of agriculture but could not document the diverse works undertaken.

The traditional occupations of fringe villagers are seen to be deviating away from agriculture towards other non-farm activities of secondary and tertiary sector, main reasons being agrarian distress caused in response to downturns in farm produce, consecutive debts, increasing rural-urban migration (Majumdar,2022). The changes in occupational structure due to diverse livelihood options leading to shift of cultivators from complete dependency on agriculture towards shared dependency and ultimate shift from agriculture to non-agrarian economy (Berdegue, et al.,2013). The recent changes in the fringe of cities reflect decline in the farm cultivators, agricultural labourers and agricultural output along with considerable shift from farm to non- farm activities (Choitani, et al. 2021). The occupational shift out of cultivation and allied activities to 215 million in 2016 from 250 million in 2004 (ILO, World Bank,2019a). However, the degree of variation is in relation to geographical space, the changes are more prominent in the peripheral areas of cities i.e. the rural-urban fringe of cities than the absolute countryside.

“Urbanization has improved and diversified the livelihood in the rural areas” (Kumar, Sandeep,2015), which could be mainly because of increasing scope of daily mobility to city where immense formal and informal work opportunities are available. There is shift in occupation from rural economic activities to urban one, urban proximity and educational attainment and employment opportunities come out as chief drivers (Kumar, Sandeep,2015). Dairy farming, bee-keeping and many other possibilities have generated sense of taking advantage of multiple source of income, diverting the livelihood strategy towards multiple, dynamic and commercial livelihood opportunities in the rural-urban fringe.


Ms. Aishwarya Raj

Assistant Professor

Department of Geography

Patna Women’s College(Autonomous), Patna