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Rural-Urban Migration

Free «Rural-Urban Migration» Essay Sample

The rates of the urban population are alarming on the global level, and this is a result of a high rate of migration to urban areas, expansion of urban areas into the countryside as well as the high rates of births in the informal settlements of urban areas such as slums. This paper seeks to summarize the contents of the attached chapter as well as relate the same to the works of various scholars as studied in class.


The chapter talks about increased urban migration resulting from numerous births in the overcrowded slums, rural-urban migration, and the development of towns that expand to the villages. The trend makes the urban population outnumber the rural population by far hence leading to population imbalances in the respective countries. In 1950, there were only 86 cities in the world where more than one million people lived, and the projected number was 550 for the year 2015 which carried two-thirds of the global population with a record of about one million migrants and newborn babies in urban areas every week (Davis 1). By 2020, the population in reserves might reach the peak and hence start falling while cities keep absorbing more population up to 50 billion by 2050.

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The population explosion will be higher in developing countries compared to other states. Studies show that by 1910, London was seven times larger than it was in 1800, while currently, Lagos, Dhaka, and Kinshasha are forty times bigger than they were in 1950 (Davis 2). The statistics thus proves that the population is swelling more in developing countries.

Urban population is also rising due to the upcoming of new megacities that hold populations of 8 million people each while hyper cities accommodate up to 20 million people. By 2000, only Tokyo had such a population, but other cities emerged later. By 2025, it is said that Asia alone might have ten cities of such kind and these are Jakarta, with an expected population of 24.9 million, Karachi with 26.5 million, Dhaka with 25 million, Shanghai with 27 million and Mumbai with 33 million (Davis 5). However, sustainability of such populations will be at stake.

The developing world also has emerging cities that are forming new urban networks along transport corridors, for instance, the Rio/San Paulo Extended Metropolitan Region consisting of medium size cities on a 500 kilometers transport route (Davis 5). The Mexico City is also extending in a web-like a manner towards other cities and the network has become a megalopolis consisting of 50 million people, which represents about 40% of the national population. Such populations are bound to depict the largest poverty footprint on the globe.

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In Asia, there is the emergence of post-urban structures that connect different cities such as Hong Kong and Guangzhou, Shanghai Delta and the Beijing-Tianjin corridor that appears to be developing into an urban industrial megalopolis (Davis 6). The Shanghai economic zone is the largest planning unit on the global level, and it consists of the metropolis and an affiliation of five provinces, which has a population equivalent to that of the United States. The trend may lead to the development of the corridor from Japan, through North Korea, to West Java. Such an urban order will lead to increased disparity within and between cities. People are likely to shift to smaller cities hence stressing their accommodation and social services.

In Africa and Latin America, secondary cities are emerging, and at the same time, villages are also developing into urban areas and cities (Davis 8). Cities are also engulfing and swallowing small towns as well as villages and thus, people no longer have to migrate to towns but instead, towns migrate towards them. For instance, the Penang fishermen in Malaysia found themselves surrounded by towns and the infrastructure cut them off from the beaches while industries polluted the fishing grounds. The expansion of cities along corridors leads to regional development that makes it hard to distinguish between rural and urban. The urbanization and development of cities are also associated with the rising Gross Domestic Product thus, the large percentage of proletariats dwell in developed regions. However, debts inhibit the rise of GDP in the urbanizing developing countries.

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The growth of slums also goes hand in hand with the urbanization, for instance, the projection for the slum dwellers in New Delhi in 2015 was 10 million (Davis 18). Out of 500,000 migrants in Delhi, 400,000 end up in slums, and the situation is the same in many other countries like Kenya the largest informal settlements in which are in Mombasa and Nairobi.

Relation of the Above to the Class Work

The chapter associates urbanization and the development of cities with the increased Gross Domestic Product arising from growing industrialization and commercialization (Davis 12). The movements of labor from rural areas that are less capitalized to the urban areas lead to increased production of industrial goods and services as well as trade hence this increases the domestic production. The idea blends well with Lewis’ thought that economic development entails the transformation from the rural/agrarian economy into the industrial economy. He argues that the need for transformation is the limitation of land and low employment levels in the agricultural sector.

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Lewis argues that the urban industrial sector attracts labor from the countryside. This statement relates to the increased rural-urban migration in different countries as mentioned in the chapter. The section also indicates that large numbers of migrants settle in the informal sectors due to low wages or lack of employment. The statement blends with Lewis’ idea that rural-urban migration does not lead to full employment.

The chapter talks about unbalanced development within and between cities as a result of the development of post-urban structures and economic zones such as Shanghai (Davis 6). This point is similar to Lewis’ argument that development does not occur in an equal manner in all places. He also contends that industries are owned by bourgeoisie and this is also mentioned in the chapter through the statement that a large number of them reside in the developed countries and zones.

Karl Marx talked about classes in the economy and he mentioned the working class and the bourgeoisie. He described the conflict between the two as one of the characteristics of a modern economy. Marx’s words seem to replicate in this chapter because it talks about the inequality in development. The chapter also tells about informal settlements in the urban areas and these are mainly resided by the unemployed and the low-income earners while the bourgeoisie reside in the metropolis (Davis 18). Marx emphasized inequality as mentioned in the chapter by pointing out that once the society transforms from a communal to a commercial setting, antagonism ensues.

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The chapter discusses urbanization and the consequent increase in urban population resulting from rural-urban migration, high birth rates in slums as well as the expansion of cities into villages and thus transforming the locals into urban dwellers. The chapter, however, notes that not all migrants achieve what they longed for and thus the majority ends up in slums due to unemployment or low wages. The chapter also cites the unequal development in different areas as well as the implications on GDP. The contents of the chapter have similarities with the class work as some of the themes mentioned here such as inequality, the growth of GDP, as well as economic transformation are shared by theorists such as Karl Marx and Lewis.

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