Urbanization- The Cause And Effect to Economies

July 5, 2021

Definition of Urbanization Refers to the migration of people from Rural land To Urban areas. The corresponding decline in the number of the rural population and the adaptations made by societies to this change. It is primarily the process through which Towns And Cities. These areas are enlarged as more people move to the central area.
Although these two concepts can sometimes be used interchangeably, urbanization should not be confused with urban development. Urbanization is the percentage of the total population that lives in urban areas. Urban growth refers strictly to the number of people who live in these areas. By 2050, 64% of the world’s developing countries and 86% of the world’s developed nations will be urbanized. This is roughly equivalent to 3 billion urbanites in 2050. Most of this will be in Africa and Asia. The United Nations recently predicted that almost all global population growth between 2017 and 2030 would be driven by cities with approximately 1.1 billion urbanites in the next ten years.

Causes of Urbanization

Urbanization occurs when there’s a movement of people from rural communities to urban areas (towns or cities). This is usually when a country’s development is still in its early stages.
Rapid urbanization levels resulted from industrialization in Europe and North America during the eighteenth century, 19th century, and 20th century respectively in human history. To find jobs in rapidly growing industries in large cities and towns in the 21st century, a lot people moved from rural to urban areas.
Urbanization has slowed since 1950 in most HICs. Some of the largest cities are losing population due to people moving away from the city into rural areas. This is also known as Counter-urbanization .

The LICs (low-income countries) have seen the fastest growth in urbanization since 1950. They are located in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The urban population density in LICs has doubled between 1950 and 1990. The increase in urban population density in developed countries was less than half.

The following are the main reasons for urbanization in LICs since 1950:

Due to the lack of resources and population pressure, rural to urban migration is unprecedented. These are the ”push” elements.
People that live in rural areas are often ”pulled to the cities”. They believe urban living will offer a better standard of life than rural areas. They are often wrong. People also want well-paid jobs. The greater the opportunities to find informal or casual work, better education, and health care, the better.
A decline in deaths rates causes a natural increase, but birth rates are still high.
According to the UN, 60% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas by 2030.

Problems of Urbanization

Overcrowding or Overpopulation

Overcrowding refers to a situation in which a large number of people occupy a small space. This makes it challenging to provide adequate housing for them. Overcrowding is a problem that has been exacerbated by urbanization. A large number of people move daily to urban areas causing urban slums.
Cities can grow in population and then get crowded when they reach their maximum capacity. People tend to fight for scarce and limited resources, such as water and electricity. This is why cities are at their total capacity.


Another problem with urbanization is unemployment. Surprisingly, a large percentage of unemployed youth come from educated and well-educated families. Although there are more job and economic opportunities in urban areas, they also tend to be less lucrative. However, as more people move to cities, it becomes harder to find jobs and keep them.
Many companies find themselves having to retrain employees and putting more people out of work. These factors combined make urban unemployment alarming high.
The unemployment rates have risen dramatically in recent years due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Every day, people are being laid off at alarming rates. Companies retain only the minimum amount of employees.
This is alarming, as urbanization levels are causing more problems than ever. In the face of an economic crisis, many of the needed jobs to meet the growing urban population’s needs are eliminated.

Sanitization Problems

Due to the high level of urban agglomerations in urban areas, sanitation problems are common. Due to the large population, it is difficult for local governments to properly establish and maintain a proper sewerage system. Sometimes, the rapid increase in population density can overwhelm the ability of local governments to build the necessary sanitation and sewage systems.
Sometimes the existing sewerage systems do not have the necessary human and infrastructural capacity to manage and treat the waste. Instead, the waste is dumped into water sources, polluting them and posing a risk to urban residents who could contract water-borne illnesses and ingest water contaminated by heavy metals.

Water Shortage Problems

Water is essential for maintaining life. Due to the rapid growth in the urban population, water becomes very scarce. The regular supply of water is strained and not sufficient to meet the needs of the large population.
Furthermore, water problems could worsen due to the increased water pollution from inadequate sewerage systems or a lack of measures to manage local water pollution.

Housing Problems

People move to cities, and they often create housing problems. The houses will become less available if the cities are not prepared for this human population. It’sIt’s even more challenging to settle people who arrive in cities but don’t get employed or move in as immigrants. These people may not afford to buy their own houses or to rent and live the city life.
As the amount of materials needed to build new homes becomes more scarce, the problem increases in severity. It is also quite difficult to build houses, and it may be more difficult to find financial resources. They could even become diverted into other programs and development. This only adds to our problem.

Health hazards

Congested urban areas can pose several dangers to residents. Poor sanitation, water issues, and living near dumpsites are all factors that can lead to diseases of all types. These areas are often far from the nearest health facilities, making them more challenging to treat and sometimes even leading to death.
People living in slums are frequently diagnosed with conditions such as infertility and food poisoning and asthma, heart disease, pneumonia, cancer, and other serious illnesses. All of this can be attributed to urban pollution.
The problem of global urbanization has become more apparent with the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Urbanization is now the most significant health risk. The problem is worse in developing countries.
Slums are the most affected. These areas are where the pandemic is spreading faster. The fatality rate is high in most of these cases. It is essential to mention that when the pandemic began spreading in India, many were concerned about Dharavi, India’sIndia’s largest slum, which is located in ancient cities in Mumbai. It was only by luck that the pandemic could be contained there.

Development of slums

Urbanization and industrialization have a significant impact on the number of people who move to urban areas. However, they don’t prepare them for what they will face once they get there. The cost of living in urban areas is often high. This is because urban dwellers are often not able to afford adequate housing.
As a result, slums have been growing to become safe havens for people who can’t afford to rent high-end apartments or don’t have the money to buy homes or build them in urban areas. Because of the scarcity and really high cost of apartments or land in urban areas, slums are created by constructing undeveloped or undervalued land.
Slum houses and informal settlements are often poorly constructed and lack basic amenities such as clean drinking water or sanitation. These slums are designed to serve low-income urban
residents. These settlements may even be illegal. They could be located near dumpsites or heavily polluted areas.

Transportation problems

Many people move between their homes and work, which can lead to congestion and traffic jams. In urban areas, the number of car owners is increasing every year. The public transport system can be very unpredictable.
Traffic problems are worsening as more cars drive in urban centers. This causes traffic jams and increases the likelihood of traffic accidents.

Increased rate of poverty

Global urbanization eventually leads to poverty. With rising unemployment rates, more people fall below the poverty line. The state government loses track of the population as the population grows and urban centers become congested.
It does this in many cases, but it doesn’t always provide enough for everyone. This eventually leads to extreme poverty, where people live in the streets with little to no food or drink.
People’sPeople’s standard of living decreases due to poverty. Sometimes it is even considered inhumane. Poverty is a significant threat to the human condition in a world that sees the rich becoming more wealthy and the poor becoming more poorer.

Urban crime

As there are not enough jobs to support everyone, the more people who live in cities are at greater risk of becoming unemployed. Not everyone has easy access to essential social services. This makes it easier for the disadvantaged to become involved in substance abuse, violence, and organized crime.
People are more likely to be poor if they don’t have jobs. To earn a living, people turn to poverty-related crimes such as conning, theft, and organized criminality.
These criminal acts are most common in urban centres because of poverty and lack of job opportunities. These crimes make it difficult for people to live in cities, as they don’t guarantee their safety, particularly those who cannot defend themselves.

Effects of urbanization

Urban people interact with their environment. Urban dwellers alter their environment by changing the way they eat, drink, and use land. The urban environment is polluted, which in turn affects the quality and health of urban residents.


Cities grow in size, density, and spatial extent, meaning their ecological and ecological footprints are increasing. Urban expansion in forests, wetlands, and agricultural systems can lead to habitat clearing and degradation. Consumptive urban lifestyles that rely on natural resources and produce more waste lead to higher soil, water, and air pollution levels.
According to a paper in the PNAS, the unsustainable urbanization process could have devastating negative effects on global ecosystems. Rapidly growing areas in Asia, Africa, and South America will be overlapping with biodiversity hotspots. What will happen next? The urban expansion will result in the extinction of 139 amphibian and 41 mammalian species, and 25 bird species. All of them are critically endangered.

Inequality Water

Nearly 97% of the world’s water is held in the oceans. Only a tiny fraction of this is available as freshwater. There are many routes that precipitation takes when it falls on the ground. Some of the rain evaporates, while some seeps into the ground. The rest becomes surface water and travels to oceans or lakes via rivers and streams.
Urbanization can cause impervious surfaces to alter the amount of water that travels each route. This change has two consequences: a decrease in the water volume percolates into the ground and a consequent increase in volume and decreased surface water quality. These hydrological changes can have significant implications on the availability of clean fresh water for humans, fish, and wildlife.

Air Pollution

The early stages of industrialization are often plagued by air pollution. In Donora, in 1948, and London in 1952, there were episodes of severe sulfurous smog that killed or sickened many people. The air quality in other cities, mainly those located in industrialized areas of the United States or Europe, are also notoriously poor. These events were caused by high levels of smoke, sulfur dioxide, and other particles in stagnant, foggy weather conditions.


Urbanization has resulted in a decrease in physical activity and poor nutrition. According to the World Health Organization, non-communicable illnesses such as heart disease and stroke will account for 69% of all deaths in developing nations by 2020. Infectious diseases are another threat posed by urbanization. Infectious diseases can be distributed from one country to the other by air travel. People who move from rural areas may not be immune to certain diseases, making them more susceptible to contracting them.

Elevated GHGs and air pollutants emissions

This is due to the urban industry, car emissions, and electricity demand. To generate electricity, many companies around the globe use fossil fuels like petrol and coal. These compounds are a source of air pollution and greenhouse gases. They pose a risk to health and the environment by contributing to the formation and precipitation of acid rain. Urban GHG emissions cause the majority of global warming and climate change.

Slum development

Living in urban areas can be very expensive. This is combined with the rapid growth of unplanned and unpredictable jobs, resulting in illegal resident settlements such as slums or squatters. Rapid industrialization, a lack of housing land, large influxes of rural migrants to cities seeking better lives, and high land prices make it more difficult for urban dwellers to live in slums.
Urbanization is an essential condition of modernization. However, it can be mitigated. It is possible to reduce urbanization by learning how to conserve the environment and use renewable energy.

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