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Identify the main migration strategies underlying rural-urban population movements in the Third World, and critically examine governments' responses to the phenomenon.

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Introduction

Laura Kelly BA (Hons) Geography Reg: 199938141 Third World Urbanisation "Identify the main migration strategies underlying rural-urban population movements in the Third World, and critically examine governments' responses to the phenomenon." Third World population growth rates have been at the forefront of Third World population policy for many years, alarming local, national and international governments about the consequences of such growth. However, the more recent trend towards rapid urbanisation in developing countries across the world now seems to be a more significant and pressing issue in our contemporary times. During the course of this essay I will concentrate on the influence of internal migration on the rapid urbanisation of the Third World. I aim to identify and explain the main migration strategies that underlie such internal migration patterns, outlining relevant theories, models and perspectives. I will also outline the benefits and consequences of such population movements on both an aggregate and individual level. I will then examine the governmental response and policy implications of the urban phenomenon of the Third World, assessing the relative successes and/or failures of these actions, before investigating the criticism that these governments have come under in recent times. 'One of the most significant of all postwar demographic phenomena and the one that promises to loom even larger in the future is the rapid growth of cities in developing countries.' (Todaro, 1990; 263). Todaro's argument here is underlined by Figure 1, below. This graph illustrates the 'Estimated and Projected World Urban and Rural Population' from 1950-2030, clearly showing the changing demographics of the world, with the urban population projected to overtake the rural population. According to United Nations Population Division (2000; 128) within 5 years, half of the world's population will live in cities. By 2030 the urban population will reach 4.9 billion (60% of the world's population). Nearly all population growth will be in the cities of developing countries, whose population will double to nearly 4 billion by 2030-about the size of the developing world's total population in 1990. ...read more.

Middle

However, many migrants have no such plans to ever return to the rural area and therefore have different motives in the city. These permanent migrants are completely dependent on their urban income and put all of their hope and faith in the city. Permanent migrants tend to campaign for improved living conditions, employment conditions and improved economic and social security in the city. They strive for success in the city, tending to be those who set up their own businesses and own their own home. As we have seen, migrants have different motives for migrating in different parts of the world, in different circumstances, at different times. The local context of migration is vitally important in wholly understanding rural-urban migration in the Third World. This can be related to Brown's (1991) postulation that the underlying motives for migration, which affect which of the strategies is adopted, depend on the level of development in the area. There are four main identifiable policy approaches adopted by Third World governments in response to the rural-urban migration phenomenon. These, as classified by Parnwell (1993), can either be Negative, Accommodative, Manipulative or Preventive of migration. Negative approaches tend to highlight governments' unfavourable attitude towards urban migration, through the implementation of migration control policies. Such approaches have been based on administrative and legal controls on migration, for example registration and pass law systems. Here, people were registered with a certificate as either urban or rural residents, and the number of people who could be registered as urban citizens was restricted. This approach aimed to curb the growth of urban migration, by acting as a constraint to the volume of people able to move to the city in search of work. These strategies have been largely successful in socialist Third World countries, such as China, where the registration system was reinforced through food rationing, available for those holding a valid urban certificate, and rustication programmes, where large numbers are deported from the city and relocated in the rural area. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, in India, such industrialization has paradoxically resulted in increased rural-urban migration, where the migrants are encouraged to move to the city, as their newly-found skills increase their urban employment prospects. UNFPA also believe governments should implement policies that 'give people greater control over resources and improve their livelihoods'. Although land reform policies, where land is redistributed to the poor, may raise agricultural income, most Third World governments lack the political structure to implement them successfully. As well as a restoration of a proper balance between rural and urban incomes, Todaro (1990; 283) also calls for changes in government policies that 'give development programmes a strong bias towards the urban sector, such as policies in the provision of healthcare, education and social services'. These welfare policies have also been quite successful, for example in Sri Lanka urban migration was reduced by the introduction of rural social welfare packages including free healthcare, income support and housing improvements (Pacione, 2001). As we have seen, successful approaches to mitigating excessive rural-urban migration must be adapted to the specific socio-economic needs of particular countries and regions. As we have seen, rapid urban expansion in the Third World is of major concern to governments around the globe. We have also seen how rural-urban migration has contributed to this problem. Although migration is primarily an economic-based decision, it remains that different people move for different reasons, in different parts of the world, at different times. The four main types of migration strategy reflect this point. In response, governments have adopted four main approaches in attempting to reduce the impact of excessive rural-urban migration. While each approach has had success in specific countries, where financial and political resources allow successful implementation, none provide a universal solution to the problem. The most effective policies, preventive policies, adopt a grass-roots approach, dealing with the push-factors of migration in the source area. However, migration is a very complex process, as demonstrated by Brown's (1991) 'development paradigm of migration'. Policy makers must therefore remember that the forces underlying migration vary over time and space and must parallel such dynamics. ...read more.

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