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Impacts of Migration on Urban Areas.

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Impacts of Migration on Urban Areas During the 1990s, more than 70% of the world's population increase is expected to take place in towns and cities - 67 million people every year, equivalent to around four extra cities the size of New York. By the end of the century, nearly half the world's population will live in cities. It was predicted that at the rate of growth occurring at the time that by the turn of the century there would be over 300 cities in developing countries with populations of over one million with two-thirds of the world's urban population situated in developing countries. According to the United Nations Development Programme, 'rural poverty, high fertility and environmental degradation continue to drive some 20 - 30 million of the world's poorest people annually to the towns and cities.' In general, migration is a more important component of urban growth in poorer, less urbanised countries where the nature of the migration process has dramatically increased due to the improvements in transportation. Over recent years many factors have accelerated rural to urban migration. Increasing numbers of people mean there is an increased demand for housing, infrastructure and social services. ...read more.


One of the main examples of this is the existence of shanty towns/squatter settlements which migrants end up in due to a lack of affordable housing. Shanty towns subsequently have an effect on the services of the city (water and electricity especially) as the residents illegally tap into the systems so they have these luxuries but they do not pay for these services so improvements to the system often have to be made to meet the new demands without any extra funding. Unemployment is also a factor that residents often take into their own hands through the establishment of the informal sector so they have a job and an income whilst helping people meet a variety of basic needs. Increasingly the informal sector is becoming an integral part of a cities economy providing services from fresh fruit to transport to all urban residents not just the urban poor. However there is a risk that illegal operations can sprout from these informal services as small businesses work against one another pushing up crime rates. The formal sector can also be affected as higher prices drive people toward the cheaper informal sector services and eventually a cities economy may evolve to rely on the fragile informal sector rather than the more stable formal sector. ...read more.


However the increased demand combined with the modernisation of the food supply system has given rise to an invasion of supermarkets and opened the market to processed foods pushing up the prices. For example in Zimbabwe the food price index rose by 167 in only three years. As a result of increased prices (and unemployment) food is a hard commodity to come by for the poor who subsequently turn to urban agriculture which is illegal and can cause damage to the environment in the form of soil erosion. This lack of food can also increase crime rates as people turn to either stealing food directly or stealing other products to exchange for food. Overall the full force of the impact of migrants is felt mainly in urban areas in developing countries where there is often a lack of funds to combat these problems compared to urban areas in developed areas where there is usually more than enough funds available. However it is not only about the funds available. In general there is a higher level of rural-urban migration in developing countries as the quality of life is much greater in the cities than on the farms due to services and the prospect of a better quality of life (employment, housing and health care) pulling people to the cities. Mark Evans ...read more.

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