Urbanization In Developing Countries

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 Urbanization In Developing Countries

Several authors note that towns were known in Africa long before the start of the modern period. Urban centers like Meroe, Adulis, Axum were established long before Christ. Many ancient towns such as Mombasa, Mokwadisho, Benin emerged during the 7th to 10th centuries. Many famous urban centers of the past have undergone significant changes or declined.

The major African urban centers of the present day are largely the product of colonialism. Major cities established during the colonial period include: Accra (Ghana), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Brazzaville (Congo), Kinshasa (Dem.Rep.Congo), Yande (Cameroon), Kampala (Uganda), Nairobi (Kenya), Johannesburg (A. Africa) etc.

Rapid rates of urbanization have been experienced in developing countries after the Second World War. occurs frequently in many developing countries


A major city called Primate City. It is several times bigger than the next largest city. Colonists used cities as collection centers where surplus produce was extracted from the hinterland and shipped to their countries, so the development of cities was important in facilitating the transfer of resources to Europe. In this process big cities were built. Such urbanization is called dependent urbanization. Unlike urbanization in developed countries, urbanization in developing countries is not a function of industrialization. Third World cities have an important place because of their colonial origins. Most of the cities are port sites located near the coasts.

The process of urbanization has accelerated mainly due to rural urban migration.

Migration has both positive and negative effects. Positive results are:


  1. Migration relieves surplus population of agricultural sector
  2. This allowed the introduction of agricultural technology on the one hand and it brought a greater labor force to the city for industrial development.


Negative Effects:

  1. It diverts the labor force away from the agricultural sector
  2. It creates problems of unemployment, housing, overcrowding in urban areas and serious socio-political unrest.

The argument that migration would adversely affect is not relevant in the case of Ethiopia, as the average holding size is as small as 1 hectare/per household.

Why do people migrate to urban areas? There are different explanations to answer this question:


  1. Economic Determinant Model:
  2. It can be seen in two ways. income gap model

push and pull model


income gap model

deals with the decision of individuals to migrate from rural to urban areas as a function of differences in wages and salaries. Accordingly, this model predicts that the amount of migration to urban areas increases as wages and salaries become higher in urban areas. Individuals calculate how much they will earn in their areas and urban areas. Migration, therefore, involves a rational decision of individuals to move towards urban centres.

Thus, rural out-migration is explained by comparing the difference in income between rural and urban environments.





Push and Pull Model:


According to this model migration is considered as a response of individuals to economic push and pull factors.

Push factors may include: archaic land tenure, congested land holdings, rural

Labor surplus, low agricultural productivity, etc. are factors that attract rural migrants to urban areas, including: employment opportunities, availability of social amenities, hospitals. School, etc. Hence the push and pull factors work in combination.



spatial deterministic model


The spatial aspect of rural-urban migration is the contribution of geographers. As the distance increases, the rate of migration decreases. Distance is inversely related to migration, that is, the rate of rural-urban migration is likely to decrease as distance increases. If the point of origin is far away from the destination, the migration will be minimal. The main theme of this model is that distance determines the rate of migration. This explanation seems valid in the case of Ethiopia. people from


The peripheral parts of the country do not migrate to the urban centers as much as the people living near the urban centers do.

  1. Educational Deterministic Model

This model can be viewed in two ways

One. availability of educational facilities

  1. Educational level of individual migrants
  2. a) It is believed that higher standards of educational facilities attract migrants from other regions. In most of the developing countries, such high level educational facilities are concentrated in urban areas and act as a stimulus for rural-urban migration.
  3. b) Focusing on individual migrants, it has been stated that educated individuals are more likely to be aware of and take advantage of the differential opportunities between their place of residence and other alternative places. The more educated a person is, the more likely he is to be aware of differential opportunities, and thus more prone to migration.


so we can sum

It is noteworthy that a major part of urban growth in developing countries is due to rural-urban migration. It is the primate city (often the political capital) that attracts the most migrants. Expats love Primate City for a number of reasons. Since there is a large concentration of socio-economic activities, it provides employment opportunities for immigrant grants. Many argue that there is an urban bias in favor of primate cities when it comes to investment.

The problem is how to stop the migration of primates to the cities. Many countries attempt to reduce migration to primate cities through the establishment of secondary cities. If we encourage the development of secondary cities, the mile grant will be


Migrate to them. Tertiary level cities are also important. This type of policy was adopted in Ethiopia during the reign of the very first emperor.

For example: Awasa, Arbaminch and Bahirdar were deliberately established by the emperor’s government. These were intended to be the development poles of the secondary cities.




General characteristics of third world cities


  1. They have colonial origins.
  2. They have limited functions (administration and export). They are not wealth creators; Rather they suck out services from the hinterland and are parasites.
  3. They are symbols of factionalism rather than integration and national unity. they are more regional than national
  4. important place because of their colonial origin, they are mostly

port city.

  1. Skewed economic structure; Tertiary economic activities are primary (service) and limited manufacturing.
  2. On urbanization and primacy. cairo is about 50% of the total

urban population, adds 35%

  1. Urbanization is only a demographic transition. There is no accompanying industrialization.
  2. Economy c Dualism- Modern and traditional sectors co-exist side by side.
  3. Spontaneous or unauthorized houses and slums. Slum areas are characterized by poor and unhygienic conditions.
  4. Not all inland towns are served

The role of the town is played by periodic markets. This is done to maximize profit


Markets must be far apart in place and time in order to maximize demand or minimize travel costs in order to minimize the cost of maize.

New Sociology


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