Poverty and lack of opportunity in rural Ethiopia drives migration. This paper explores how poor rural-urban migrants fare in the cities of Ethiopia, what the outcomes of migration are in the short term, and what migrants hope to achieve in the longer term. The presumption in the literature is that the purpose of rural-urban migration is to increase the level of income of households by sending some members from rural areas with relatively low wages to industrialized cities, where wages are higher. Wages in urban areas in Ethiopia, are much higher than in rural areas. In 2000 they were twice as high both in formal and informal employment. Poverty levels, however, do not show the same extreme differences in rural and urban areas as they do in other African countries. Once in the cities, the assumption is that migrants earn money, live frugally and send remittances ‘home’ to their families and households.