Demography, Urbanization and Development: Rural Push, Urban Pull and... Urban Push?

43 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Remi Jedwab

Remi Jedwab

George Washington University - Department of Economics

Luc Christiaensen

World Bank

Marina Gindelsky

Government of the United States of America - Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA); George Washington University - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 23, 2015

Abstract

Developing countries have urbanized rapidly since 1950. To explain urbanization, standard models emphasize rural-urban migration, focusing on rural push factors (agricultural modernization and rural poverty) and urban pull factors (industrialization and urban-biased policies). Using new historical data on urban birth and death rates for seven countries from Industrial Europe (1800?1910) and thirty-five developing countries (1960?2010), this paper argues that a non-negligible part of developing countries? rapid urban growth and urbanization may also be linked to demographic factors, such as rapid internal urban population growth, or an urban push. High urban natural increase in today?s developing countries follows from lower urban mortality, relative to Industrial Europe, where higher urban deaths offset urban births. This compounds the effects of migration and displays strong associations with urban congestion, providing additional insight into the phenomenon of urbanization without growth.

Keywords: Labor Markets, Rural Labor Markets

Suggested Citation

Jedwab, Remi and Christiaensen, Luc and Gindelsky, Marina, Demography, Urbanization and Development: Rural Push, Urban Pull and... Urban Push? (June 23, 2015). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7333. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2622319

Remi Jedwab

George Washington University - Department of Economics ( email )

Washington, D.C., DC
United States

Luc Christiaensen (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Marina Gindelsky

Government of the United States of America - Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) ( email )

1441 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20910
United States

George Washington University - Department of Economics ( email )

Washington, D.C., DC
United States

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