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How Urbanisation Can End Poverty

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The human race has gone from being hunters and gatherers to doing farming and agriculture for survival, and recently the industrial revolution brought another radical change in the way we live: urbanisation. Most people today live in cities instead of rural areas. The number of urban dwellers is only expected to increase in the future. Predictions say that by 2050 around 64% of the developing world and 86% of the developed world will be living in cities.

The industrial revolution enabled this urbanisation as the use of machines to do work meant less human labour was required to do the basic agricultural tasks. As less humans were required to work on farms, this meant more food produce was achieved with less people. This enabled some people to work and specialize in other fields as they were no longer needed in farming. Thus people started settling in cities. The industrial revolution not only got rid of the extra farming jobs but it created many new jobs as well. Machines were being used in everything from the clothing industry to printing newspaper articles.


The degree of urbanisation of an area is often closely related to how developed it is and the amount of economic success it has. The most urbanised region in the world is North America with 82% living in urban areas. It is followed by South America, Europe and Oceania. Africa is the least urbanised continent in the world and also the least developed. Asia is a very large continent with a combination of very developed countries and also third world countries, thus its urbanisation is more than Africa yet not as high as the Western world. Specifically, East Asia is very urbanised and also has a very high economy. On the other hand, South Asian countries are the least developed in Asia and accordingly they are the least urbanised. Afghanistan is the least urbanised country in Asia. This shows the direct correlation between development and urbanisation.

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There are several reasons for this correlation. Urbanisation often represents people giving up agriculture and farming to seek higher wage jobs in cities that have been made possible due to industrialisation. This enables people to specialise in certain fields and create more value. The diversification of the economy in this way leads to more productivity and a higher economy that benefits everyone. Cities gather people with a diverse set of skills, who can work together to improve the quality of life for everyone. Information is easily accessible in cities. Recently, major cities have also become global centers as tourists, diplomats and investers usually visit these cities when they go to other countries. Major cities today have airports which enable easy travel. Immigration allows highly qualified people from around the world to gather in these cities and contribute to it's development and innovation with new ideas. All these factors combine to make urbanisation a major factor in the development and economic success of a country.


Overall, as the world heads towards more urbanisation it is expected that we will see economic growth in many of the poorer and less developed regions in the world. Asia and Africa are the regions that are predicted to go through the most urbanisation in the coming decades. Once people have access to a high quality lifestyle in cities, it is hoped that much of the inequality between the developing world and the developed world will start to decrease. Urbanisation can be a tool that solves many of the worlds problems today.

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