• [3] Following Sovani’s work, several scholars offered alternative definitions, many of which included not just the relationship between population growth and their means of
    employment but also the ability of the urban area to provide public services, reflecting that economic development lagged behind population growth in a multitude of ways.

  • [2][3][5][7] This historical approach was applied to Asia in the report, which argued that because a smaller percentage of the labor force was engaged in non-agricultural
    activities than certain Western developed countries had at similar levels of urbanization, Asia was overurbanized.

  • Pull factors towards urban areas include expansion of economic opportunity and the infrastructure of cities as administrative centers[2][7] Shandra recognizes the relationship
    between push and pull factors, arguing that rural conditions, specifically environmental scarcity, cause decreasing income, decreased stability, and increased health risks, leading many to respond by migrating to urban areas.

  • [17] Proponents of the dependency perspective argue that rural-push and urban-pull factors are not only a result of population growth and resource scarcity, but that these
    factors, among others, are caused by the exploitation of developed countries and the capitalist principles they operate under.

  • [16] Sovani argues that there is little evidence for the greater role of “push” factor of increased population in rural areas, as even countries where there is little pressure
    for land experience this phenomenon, but that instead the opportunity for higher income is responsible for the excessive migration and pressure on cities, as the salary for an unproductive job in an urban area was almost always higher than
    the salary for unproductive work in a rural area.

  • [12] Employment[edit] Despite arguing the potential for economic growth, the UNESCO report also states that overurbanization prevents urban areas and countries from utilizing
    their “potential human and physical resources” due to unemployment, under-employment, and misemployment.

  • [2] Several causes have been suggested, but the most common is rural-push and urban-pull factors in addition to population growth.

  • [3][8] Graves and Sexton also emphasize that individuals move despite negative factors such as overcrowding, suggesting that individuals still see urban migration as an overall

  • [2] Even in the case of overurbanization, some of the positive effects of urbanization could be present in regards to economic growth, such as the development of more efficient
    economics due to scale, technological developments, diversity of both products and occupations, as well as “the greater opportunity of occupational and social mobility and greater readiness to adapt.

  • [10][16] This is to say that “a comprehensive understanding of Third World urbanization cannot focus solely on intra-national, rural-push, urban-pull explanations…but must
    explicitly incorporate the impact of international capitalist forces.

  • [15][5][14] The rural-push and urban-pull perspective[edit] The biggest cause of overurbanization emphasized by scholars is rural-urban migration and the “push” factors associated
    with it, including “increased population, diminished size of holdings, and absentee landlord exactions.

  • “[16] This holds that the negative rural-push factors are a result of the manipulation of developed countries.

  • [11] Gugler defined overurbanization by two factors: that migration to cities led to a “less than optimal allocation of labor between the rural and urban sectors” and that
    migration to cities “increases the costs of providing for a country’s growing population.

  • [4] Davis and Golden used data on “the percentage of economically active males not engaged in agriculture and the percentage of the population in cities of 100,000 or above
    in a large number of the countries in the world,” in order to define the normal relationship between industrialization and urbanization.

  • [12] Economists Philip Graves and Robert Sexton argue that the definition of overurbanization must “involve the presence of negative net external effects for the city size
    in question,” suggesting that as long as “positive external social benefits” from rapid urbanization dominate negative externalities, overurbanization is not at play.

  • [5][10] The dependency perspective[edit] The dependency perspective on the causes of overurbanization is based on dependency theory, which argued that economic and political
    systems rendered less developed countries dependent on developed countries, which used developing countries for resources, labor, and markets.

  • [4][5] Proposed solutions A UNESCO report that discussed overurbanization in Asia suggested initial proposals that addressed rural-push factors such as lack of economic opportunity
    and low productivity by improving agricultural technology and supporting rural industries.

  • [2] However, Firebaugh argues that great efficiency is often a result of an increasingly capital-intensive system, which creates inequality between large and small landowners,
    such as in the Latin American latifundia system.

  • [5] Because migrants are primarily motivated by factors pushing them out of rural areas rather than factors such as demand for labor pulling them to the city, these rural-urban
    migrants often find themselves unemployed or quitting “low productive agricultural employment to [enter] yet another section marked by low productivity employment, namely handicraft production, retail trading, domestic services in urban areas.

  • [2] Scholars on overurbanization agree that N.V. Sovani was one of the first to discount Davis and Golden’s argument, as he found that the connection between urbanization
    and industrialization was more significant in underdeveloped countries than developed ones, suggesting that Davis and Golden’s measure of a “normal” relationship between urbanization and industrialization was not valid.

  • [5] The neo-Malthusian perspective[edit] The neo-Malthusian perspective is closely related to rural-push and urban-pull factors, but it suggests that the cause behind these
    factors is population growth, which leads to ecological problems, decreasing agricultural activity, and increased rural poverty.

  • [4][9] The synchronic approach, the main one taken in the 1950s, was proposed by sociologists Kingsley Davis and Hilda Golden who defined whether a country was overurbanized
    based on how its relationship between industrialization and urbanization compared to that of other countries during the same time period.

  • [4][7] The idea that rural-push factors are stronger than urban-pull factors in cases of overurbanization suggests that it is population pressure in rural areas rather than
    the pull of urban jobs that leads to rural-urban migration.

  • “[2][3][4][8] Specifically, lower death rates as a result of demographic transition lead to less available land and fewer opportunities for rural residents.

  • [2] Dyckman gives an example of a consequence of urbanization in Cairo when he explains that urban dwellers actually have lower literacy rates than those in surrounding villages
    due to a lack of development.

  • [13][16] The larger process of urbanization is characterized both by these factors that “push” migrants away from their homes as well as factors that “pull” them towards new

  • [4][7][12] Davis and Golden also argue that greater density of dissatisfied impoverished masses could improve conditions to the extent that it provokes the government to enact
    change to avoid revolution.

  • [2][3][7] Davis and Golden did not see overurbanization as a necessarily negative phenomenon, but rather a statistical reality that could have its challenges but would ultimately
    be self-correcting as an appropriate balance was found between levels of urbanization and industrialization.

  • [8] Economist David R. Kamerschen found that there was little statistical evidence to support that “rapid urbanization in underdeveloped countries hampers economic growth,”
    suggesting that the phenomenon of overurbanization is questionable.

  • [8] Such unsupportable growth would suggest that the cause of overurbanization is urbanization happening too rapidly for a city’s level of economic development.

  • “[2] Expanding on the latter, they suggest that overurbanization could spur industrial growth, modernization of agriculture, and social change.

  • [4] Sovani also argues that the definition of overurbanization as developed by scholars in the 1950s and 1960s suggests some sort of limits to population density “beyond which
    the resulting social situation is abnormal,” which he argues need to be defined more clearly.

  • Furthermore, economist N.V. Sovani argued that the evidence offered is not consistent with the development trajectories of developed countries, pointing out specific examples
    of developed countries such as Switzerland where high levels of industrialization did not correspond with high levels of urbanization.

  • [8][14] The political modernization perspective[edit] Shandra’s take on the political modernization perspective asserts that environmental degradation causes overurbanization,
    because the destruction of natural resources in rural areas lowers production and increases poverty and health risks.

  • [16] Effects Economic[edit] Davis and Golden did not see overurbanization as an inherently negative phenomenon, but as a statistical fact that would likely correct itself,
    as “urbanization will fall off sharply or industrialization will gain a new impetus.

  • Gugler suggested channeling more resources to rural areas and fighting the tendency to neglect rural areas with what economist Michael Lipton deemed “urban bias,” the tendency
    to allocate funds and public works to cities, where the elite and middle classes reside.

  • [17] Additionally, a study done by Bruce London found that factors related to dependency were not only connected to rapid urbanization, but also the negative aspects of urbanization
    such as urban inequality.

  • Furthermore, rural misery could be reduced by bringing industrialization into rural areas to increase employment and wages and to support the development of infrastructure
    that creates a “more desirable community environment.

  • A 1956 UNESCO report measured overurbanization historically, emphasizing that “at comparable levels of urbanization developed countries of today had a correspondingly greater
    proportion of their labour force engaged in non-agricultural occupations” than underdeveloped countries.

  • [15][5] Case studies Egypt[edit] Davis and Golden offered the example of Egypt as a country that significantly deviated from the normal relationship between urbanization and
    economic development.

  • [5] Supporters of the political modernization perspective suggest that a strong civil society supports lower levels of overurbanization.

  • [10] Social[edit] The UNESCO report emphasized the negative effects of overurbanization, detailing “low levels of living” as “inadequate housing, the almost complete absence
    of mass sanitary facilities, the presence of filth, squalor, repugnant odours, disease and high mortality” and “large urban groups who have little or no access to educational facilities.

  • [13] Furthermore, Timberlake and Kentor found in their analysis of economic growth and overurbanization that countries that experienced increases in levels of overurbanization
    experienced less economic growth.

  • [10] Michael Kentor found that dependence on foreign investment had a lagged effect on urbanization, meaning that urbanization rates increased a few years after foreign companies
    began profiting in developing countries.

  • Davis and the UNESCO report both discuss that overurbanization is affected by the “push” factors away from rural areas being stronger than the “pull” factors.

  • Often unemployment in rural areas is what pushes residents to the city, where better economic opportunities are expected.


Works Cited

[‘Sociological Perspectives 43, no. 1 (April 1, 2000): 97–116.
2. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Davis, Kingsley, and Hilda Hertz Golden. “Urbanization and the Development of Pre-Industrial Areas.” Economic Development and Cultural
Change 3, no. 1 (October 1954): 6–26.
3. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Kamerschen, David R. “Further Analysis of Overurbanization.” Economic Development and Cultural Change 17, no. 2 (January 1, 1969): 235–53.
4. ^ Jump up to:a b c
d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Gugler, Josef. “Overurbanization Reconsidered.” Economic Development and Cultural Change 31, no. 1 (October 1, 1982): 173–89.
5. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Shandra, John M., Bruce London, and John B. Williamson.
“Environmental Degradation, Environmental Sustainability, and Overurbanization in the Developing World: A Quantitative, Cross-National Analysis.” Sociological Perspectives 46, no. 3 (September 1, 2003): 309–29.
6. ^ Amin, Galal A. The Modernization
of Poverty: A Study in the Political Economy of Growth in Nine Arab Countries 1945-1970. BRIILL, 1980.
7. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Hauser, Philip M., ed. “Urbanization in Asia and the Far East.” In Proceedings of the Joint UN/Unesco
Seminar (in Cooperation with the International Labour Office) on Urbanization in the ECAFE Region, Bangkok, 8–18 August 1956. Calcutta: Unesco Research Center, 1957.
8. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Sovani, N. V. “The Analysis of ‘Over-Urbanization.’”
Economic Development and Cultural Change 12, no. 2 (January 1, 1964): 113–22.
9. ^ Jump up to:a b Laumas, Prem S., and Martin Williams. “Urbanization and Economic Development.” Eastern Economic Journal 10, no. 3 (July 1, 1984): 325–32.
10. ^ Jump
up to:a b c d e f Kasarda, John D., and Edward M. Crenshaw. “Third World Urbanization: Dimensions, Theories, and Determinants.” Annual Review of Sociology 17 (January 1, 1991): 467–501.
11. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h Graves, Philip E., and Robert
L. Sexton. “Overurbanization and Its Relation to Economic Growth for Less Developed Countries.” Economy Forum 8, no. 1 (July 1979): 95–100.
12. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h Dyckman, John W. “Some Conditions of Civic Order in an Urbanized World.”
Daedalus 95, no. 3 (July 1, 1966): 797–812.
13. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Firebaugh, Glenn. “Structural Determinants of Urbanization in Asia and Latin America, 1950- 1970.” American Sociological Review 44, no. 2 (April 1, 1979): 199–215.
14. ^ Jump
up to:a b c d e Kentor, Jeffrey. “Structural Determinants of Peripheral Urbanization: The Effects of International Dependence.” American Sociological Review 46, no. 2 (April 1, 1981): 201–11.
15. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Bradshaw, York W., and Mark
J. Schafer. “Urbanization and Development: The Emergence of International Nongovernmental Organizations Amid Declining States.” Sociological Perspectives 43, no. 1 (April 1, 2000): 97–116.
16. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e London, Bruce. “Structural Determinants
of Third World Urban Change: An Ecological and Political Economic Analysis.” American Sociological Review 52, no. 1 (February 1, 1987): 28–43
17. ^ Jump up to:a b c Timberlake, Michael, and Jeffrey Kentor. “Economic Dependence, Overurbanization,
and Economic Growth: A Study of Less Developed Countries*.” Sociological Quarterly 24, no. 4 (1983): 489–507.
18. ^ Bradshaw, York W. “Overurbanization and Underdevelopment in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Cross-National Study.” Studies In Comparative International
Development 20, no. 3 (September 1, 1985): 74–101.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/70626035@N00/16152175716/’]