Economic and Social Implication of Rural Migration and Urbanization
Urbanization is an essential step for every single city in the World. Without the processof urbanization, the city will stay at a stage that all resources are not sustainable to allpopulation. As United Nations reports,
half of the world’s population wil
l live in urbanarea in 2008 while the percentage of urban population will increase steadily.
China, asone of the most fast-growing countries, is experiencing urbanization too. In 2011, thetotal urban population in China exceeded the rural population and recorded 691 millionpeople (51.3%) living in urban, rising from 26% in 1990.
Furthermore, to predictions,nearly 70% of Chinese population will live in urban by the year of 2035. So urbanizationis on the way. Massive of construction of cities and metropolis are unavoidable. Fromthe experiences In Western countries in 18
century, we may expect some sorts of difficulties. Combined with the unique demographic, economic and governmentalsituation in China, we will examine more about the major concerns and challengesspecifically in the most populated city in China, Shanghai.Starting from the typical challenges faced by cities in developing countries, ProfessorDowall, from College of Environmental Design in University of California at Berkeley,lists the following after observations from different cities in the world, including rapidgrowth, limited infrastructure, degraded environments, inadequate infrastructure toprovide needed services, lack of financial resources to invest in growth, weak institutional capacity to plan and implementation, corruption, lack of adequate housingand unclear land titles and complex land management.After we have a brief introduction to the general problem of urbanization in developingcountries, we will scope out more the unique issues about Shanghai. First and theforemost, the demographical concern, according to Shanghai Bureau of Statistics
, about 23 million people are living in Shanghai, a growth of almost 38% from 16 millions inyear of 2000. However, the growth is not contributed by the natural growth rate due tothe extremely low fertility rate, 0.7
. More than 39% of the population are long-termmigrants, and mostly are from rural areas. This stunning figure is comparable to thesituation in Los Angeles between 1920 and 1930, as Warren Thornthwaite describes asthe largest internal migration in the history of the American people.
History repeats, migration happened and is happening, but why? As we mentionedbefore, in the w
orld’s general picture, urban population breakevens the rural population
in 2008 and steadily increases over time. We can analyze the phenomenon in twodifferent Economics aspects- Push and Pull. Economic push factors means the ruralenvironment is not favoring the rural residents, including low productivity,technological changes and climate changes. In most of the rural areas in China, theysustain their lives by farming. The rapid development in technology of farmingtechniques lowers their productivity. Plus the instability of climate change every year,
United Nations Population Division, “World Urbanization Prospects”,
National Bureau of Statistic of China,
China's Total Population and Structural Changes in 2011,
Last modified Jan 20, 2012.
Shanghai Statistic Bureau. “Basic Statistics on National Population Census”
Concern over Shanghai having lowest birth rate,
Last modified Apr 27, 2012.
“Autos, Transit, and the Spra
l of Los Angeles: The 1920s”
(Los Angeles: Graduate Schoolof Architecture and Urban Planning, University of California, Los Angeles, 1983),1-46.