The State of Urbanisation, Migration and the Family in the MENA Region

Ahmed Aref, Omar Khodr

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


This paper provides a systemic literature review to map the evidence on the interlinkages between migration, urbanization, and family dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, from multidisciplinary perspectives. The purpose here is to provide a widened insight towards these interlinkages in efforts to kickstart dialogue and provide a more holistic understanding.
The paper first explores, in brief, the declining trend of ‘extended-families’ upon the rising prominence of urbanization, and unravels the beneficial traits associated with extensive family structures, elucidating how its sustainable framework addresses and compensates for the challenges faced with contemporary urban living modes (nuclear families). Then, the paper attempts to answer two big research questions within the MENA context. The first demarcates the impact of urbanisation on family structures, with a focus on extended families within urbanised contexts, and the dilemma of household size and family size. The second focuses on the consequences of migration on family dynamics at a local and transnational scale, addressing multifarious challenges by the different social structures in the region.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Specialist publicationUN DESA
PublisherUN DESA
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2022


  • Urbanisation
  • Migration
  • MENA
  • Family
  • Extended Family
  • Labour


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