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 Home » Tutorials » Geography » Human Geography » Population Composition

Population Composition


A D V E R T I S E M E N T
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RURAL-URBAN COMPOSITION



The division of population into rural and urban is based on the residence and is made at a different size-point in most of the countries. This division is necessary because both of them differ from each other in terms of their livelihood and social environment. The occupational structure, density of population, and level of social and economic growth, vary between the two groups.

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A D V E R T I S E M E N T


People living in the villages and engaged in agriculture or primary activities are categorised as ‘rural’. The urban population, on the other hand are engaged in nonagricultural activities. People are attracted to urban areas in search of employment opportunities, better social facilities and higher standard of living. The urban population increases due to natural growth and migration of people from rural areas.

Criteria of labelling a settlement urban vary from one country to another. In USA, an area with a population of less than 2,500, is considered rural, while an area of more than 2,500 inhabitants is called urban. In India, all areas which are not urban, are, by definition, rural.

Percentage of rural population is higher in farm-based agricultural countries, while industrially developed regions have higher share of urban population. Table 3.1 shows the distribution of rural and urban population of different continents in 2000. Only Asia and Africa had more than 60 per cent rural population while 62 per cent of the world’s total population had an urban residence. With about 77 per cent of its population being urban, North America is the most urbanised continent.

The world’s urban population is currently growing by 60 million people a year, which is about three times the increase in rural population. In other words, the urban population of the world has been growing more rapidly than the rural population since the emergence of first urban settlement on the world’s scene. About two centuries ago (1800), only 2.5 per cent of the world’s population was living in urban areas and in 1960, about onethird of the total world population lived in cities. By 1999 over 47 per cent of the world’s total population has an urban residence. Most of this urban growth, (about 60 per cent of 60 million) reflects natural increase among current city dwellers, those born in the city; the rest is accounted for by rural-urban migration (Fig. 3.2).

A prominent feature of population redistribution, particularly in developing countries, is the growth of major cities. Almost half the world’s population lives in cities. Between 1960 and 2000, the urban population increased more than three times i.e. from 800 million to 2.8 billion. During the same period, the world’s total population doubled from 3 billion to 6 billion. It is projected that there will be about 8 billion city dwellers by 2030, and 80 per cent of them will live in developing countries.







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