The study of human geography is an important aspect of your GCSE studies. The migration of populations from rural communities to urban centres and vice-versa has an impact on the economy of a country. Some of these impacts are positive whilst others are negative. You will be expected to know some examples of both sides. In general, MEDCs are better placed to manage these changes in a sustainable way.
Looking first at migration from urban areas to rural areas. This happens very little in LEDCs, however, in MEDCs, there are several push and pull factors. Firstly, there are those people who are still working. There are many factors that influence their decision - for example, more peaceful surroundings when they are not at work, cheaper housing with larger gardens, wanting to bring up their family in a rural environment.
In MEDCs, when people retire, they sometimes move home. They have no need to live near work and may want to live in a more peaceful location than an urban centre or maybe they want to move to a smaller home. There are also people who are wealthy enough to buy second homes that they use at weekends and for holidays. The downsides to this type of migration is that it pushes up the prices of homes to the point where local people, particularly young adults, cannot afford to live there.
Other changes in rural areas that affect MEDCs in particular are job losses. Since the Second World War, agriculture has become much more mechanised. This means that fewer people are required to run farms and small farms cannot compete on price with larger ones. The larger farms buy the smaller ones and that means even fewer agricultural jobs.
But even these larger farms face their own problems. MEDCs like the UK tend to buy a lot of imported food at very competitive prices, this means that the food UK farmers produce is less in demand. One solution for farmers is to diversify, some change parts of their land to other uses e.g. paintball centres, golf courses and others, in tourist areas, offer tourist accommodation.
In some rural areas, the exploitation of natural resources has provided jobs through mining and quarrying and as the resources are becoming exhausted, the mines are closing with even more job losses.
In remote rural areas, there is a tendency towards depopulation. It is generally the younger generation that are leaving because of a lack of jobs and lack of social life (push factors). Local businesses then become less profitable as there are fewer customers and public transport is reduced as it costs too much to run for the number of people who use it. Elderly people in these areas can become cut off from facilities they need as local businesses close and services are cut. On the other hand, counter urbanisation is occurring in the accessible rural areas as people leave the cities to live in the countryside.
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