19 - Urban Transition

19 - Urban Transition - SOCI 121 Population Problems THE...

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SOCI 121: Population Problems T HE U RBAN T RANSITION : T HE D EMOGRAPHIC C OMPONENT , T RENDS , AND C HALLENGES Objectives: Discuss the Urban Transition Define “urban,” “rural,” and “urbanization” Talk about the “proximate determinants” of the urban transition Discuss some of the challenges of urban growth Describe current patterns of urbanization in developing and developed regions Class Notes: The Urban Transition The world is rapidly becoming urban. o For most of human history almost no one lived in a city. Within just one century, from 1850 to 1950, cities grabbed one in six human beings, and a short 50 years after that, by the year 2000, half the world’s population lives in a place labeled as urban o After 1950, the first year for which the UN provides urban data for all countries, the percentage of urban rose from 30 percent of world population to an estimated 47 percent in the year 2000. The urban transition is one of the most significant demographic movements in world history partly because it is intimately tied to population growth and demographic transition. o It is not too much of an exaggeration to say that world population growth is occurring in the countryside, but showing up in the cities. o What are the demographic components of urbanization, and what are the demographic consequences for society of an ever-increasing concentration of people in urban areas? Before we can answer these questions, we first need to determine what we mean by urban. This is a more complex concept than most of us may think. What is Urban? An urban place can be defined as a spatial concentration of people whose lives are organized around nonagricultural activities; the essential characteristic is that urban means nonagricultural, whereas rural means any place that is not urban. o A farming village of 5,000 people should not be called urban, whereas a tourist spa or an artist colony of 2,500 people may well be correctly called urban. o The term urban is a fairly complex concept. It is a function of: 1) sheer population size 2) space (land area) 3) the ratio of population to space (density or concentration) 4) economic and social organization The urban environment is a combination of social and built environments. Yet the concept of urban is, at root, a place-based idea 1
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SOCI 121: Population Problems o Places are thought of as being “urban” and on the basis of that definition the people living there are thought of as being part of the urban population The definitions of urban used in most demographic research unfortunately rarely encompasses all the above ingredients o Due to limitations in available data and sometimes simply for expediency, researchers (and government bureaucrats as well) typically define urban places on the basis of population size alone, implying that density is the major criterion. Thus all places with a population of 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, or more (the lower
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This note was uploaded on 11/02/2008 for the course SOCI 121 taught by Professor Lazar during the Fall '07 term at UNC.

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19 - Urban Transition - SOCI 121 Population Problems THE...

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