Reviewing the Guayana project: Lifetime migration to and from Bolivar state, Venezuela, 1950–2001


Evelyn D. Ravuri (email:


By the mid-twentieth century the population and economic resources in many developing economies had become concentrated in the capital city. Planned industrial cities became an important mechanism to encourage more balanced urban systems as well as development in peripheralized regions. Venezuela boasts one of the most impressive planned industrial cities, Ciudad Guayana, constructed in 1959 in the resource rich but inaccessible Bolivar state in the southeast. This paper summarizes the lifetime migration to and from Bolivar state for the years 1950, 1971 and 2001. Whereas the majority of lifetime migrants originated from the neighbouring northeast region in 1950 and 1971, by 2001 more migrants arrived from the capital region. For lifetime outmigrants, the destination states became more diverse and less focused on the capital region. Gender ratios of lifetime migrants to and from Bolivar became more equitable as women became more prominent in migration flows. The level of urban primacy in Venezuela declined substantially after 1971 as the country became more internally integrated, although this more equitable distribution of the country's population may not have been solely a result of the creation of the growth pole, but a result of wider economic development.