Checkpoint: Urbanization Trends Cairo

The urbanization of Egypt began in the 1800s. Before that, the city of Cairo had been large due to its access to water transportation and income from an imperial tax base. But in the 19th century, due to industrialization, trade and industry became the main sources of income. After World War II roads and railways became focused around urban areas in both northern Africa and the Middle East, therefore leading to mass migration from rural areas to the cities, including Cairo. In the larger countries of this region, such as Algeria and, of course, Egypt, close to 50% of the population was urban by the 1990's (Clark, 2004).
One-third of Cairo's population were migrants from the surrounding villages in the 1960s, and accounted for one-half of the population growth. The migrant population had been rising steadily since the end of the second World War, causing a population boom to occur in large cities, especially. The impact of this rural-to-urban migration has been obvious. Even though the village migrants are moving to an urban area, they are bringing their rural culture and habits with them, and so have been shaping the social landscape of Cairo as much as they must adjust to it. When a full one-third of the population are migrants, it makes for a very diverse cultural mix.


Abu-Lughod, Janet. (1961). Migrant Adjustment to City Life: The Egyptian Case. The American Journal of Sociology, (Vol. 67. No. 21). (pp. 22-32) Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Retrieved April, 16 2010, from JSTOR, via Apollo Library:
Clark, John. (2004). Urbanization. In P. Mattar (Ed.) Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, (Vol. 4). (2nd ed., pp. 2298-2299) New York: Macmillan Reference USA Retrieved April 16, 2010, from Gale Virtual Reference Library via Gale: