People on the streets of Harare. Image credit

People on the streets of Harare. Image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Urbanization and its causes

  • Urbanisation-is the increase of the proportion of people living in cities and towns.
  • Please note it urbanisation is not to be mistaken with a mere increase in urban populations.
  • There has to be an increase in the portion of the population living in urban areas.
  • Urbanisation is thus the process of change from being rural to being urban.
  • This is usually a result of movement (migration) of people from rural to urban areas.
  • This is known as rural-to-urban migration or just rural-urban migration.
  • The urban population of Zimbabwe rose from 25% (1982 census data) to 30% (1992 census data)
  • The urban population rose to 35% from 1992 to 2002
  • The 2012 data shows that 33% of Zimbabwe’s population lives in Urban areas which is a 2% decrease in the proportion of people living in urban areas.
  • The United Nations has estimated that 60% of the population will live in urban areas by 2030

Causes of Urbanisation

  • As a country industrialises the number of people living in urban areas (towns and cities) generally increases
  • While prior to 1950 most urbanisation processes took place in More Economically Developed Countries (MEDCs e.g. the United Kingdom)
  • Most urbanisation is now taking place in Less Economically Developed Countries such as Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia

This is because:

  • The rapid increase in rural populations is resulting in increased pressure on limited resources such as arable land and pastures
  • This forces some people to leave rural areas and look for employment in urban areas
  • These are known as push factors
  • People are drawn to towns as they view the standards of living in urban areas as being higher than in rural areas for example access to safe drinking water and electricity
  • These are known as pull factors
  • Natural population increase as the death rate decreases whilst the birth rate remains high
  • The adoption of technology in some rural areas such as tractors on farms leads to some people being left unemployed thus forcing them to migrate to urban areas

To access more topics go to the Geography Notes page.