Coach House Geography

Interesting Geography stuff for InterHigh

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Archive for the ‘Population’ Category

The best solutions make you laugh!

Posted by Lindy on January 12, 2012–poverty-to-blame-for-escalating-population
A lovely extract about population growth and poverty:
‘Thailand has had striking success in family planning using humour and audacity. During one innovative vasectomy festival, a record breaking 1,190 vasectomies were performed in one day by a team of 40 doctors and 80 nurses.
Rewards included free use of “family-planning buffaloes” for farming, and free piglets. Media helped break down taboos and birth control carnivals, condom blowing contests and community events promoted the link between population growth and low standards of living.’


Posted in Fun stuff, Population, Solution to problems | Leave a Comment »

Is Africa an area of rapid urbanisation?

Posted by Lindy on October 30, 2011

From article by Edward Paice  – 26 October 2011

Everyone knows that Nairobi’s Kibera district is the largest “informal settlement”, or slum, in sub-Saharan Africa. At least, they used to know. Politicians, journalists, NGOs and urban planning professionals routinely declared that 700,000 – 1,000,000 people lived in Kibera. But when the district was geo-statistically mapped for the first time in 2009 its population was estimated at no more than 220,000-250,000. Kibera has not exactly disappeared, but it is a shadow of its former imagined self.

In similar vein, the city of Lagos is widely believed to have about 15 million inhabitants – an estimate supported by the city authorities in the wake of Nigeria’s contested (and manipulated) 2006 census. But the 2009 Africapolis survey of West Africa’s urban population, the most sophisticated to date and compiled with the aid of satellite imagery, found that the city was home to no more than 10 million people. Even more significantly, while Nigeria’s census claimed that the country’s population was 140 million, the Africapolis team concluded that “in reality, [Nigeria] probably does not contain 100 million”. The shrinkage of Kibera, Lagos and Nigeria will prove to be unexceptional.

Why is it happening?

Governments and city authorities competing for funds, and donors and investors competing for projects, have shared a penchant for exaggeration. Despite the lack of a census in DRC since 1984, McKinsey forecasts that Kinshasa will be the 13th largest city in the world by 2025. The UN has routinely – and demonstrably – over-estimated the size of Africa’s larger cities and urban populations. Over time, errors and misinterpretations of data have become magnified, and projections less realistic. Yet it is the UN’s statistics which are most commonly cited. “They have become ‘fact’ by being constantly re-stated”, says Dr Debby Potts at King’s College, London, “instead of being recognised as guesses”.

So what is it really like?

More reliable urban population estimates and projections are increasingly available to anyone minded to heed them. They present a far from uniform picture for the continent, but challenge the received wisdom that Africa is urbanising faster than any other continent in the world. According to Africapolis, the urbanisation level in West Africa will rise by less than 3%, to 34.6% of the total population, in the period 2000-2020. Analysis by Debby Potts and other leading specialists of the 18 censuses published by sub-Saharan countries in the past decade reveals a similar picture. While urban populations are growing fast in many countries, only in four countries is rapid urbanisation occurring. According to Potts, “the most common pattern is for slow urbanisation”.

The UN thinks urbanisation is a good thing?

Rapid urbanisation is being portrayed – by the UN, the World Bank and many others – as a potential developmental “silver bullet” for Africa. Cities, we are frequently told, will be the drivers of economic growth and poverty reduction on the continent in the years to come. At present, such claims are too simplistic, and counter-productively over-optimistic.

So why are African cities not growing?

One of the explanations for the modest momentum of urbanisation in so many African countries is the lack of opportunities for individuals to improve their lot in towns and cities. Job creation, or lack of it, is the key factor here. In the absence of formal or informal employment, or better services, many rural migrants chose to return whence they came, or to come and go – a phenomenon known as “circular migration”. This is becoming more and more common, and stays in each location are of shorter duration. Natural increase among the poorest urban-dwellers, not migration, is the biggest driver of urban growth in Africa. This means slum growth, and burgeoning ranks of unoccupied young men and women.

Posted in Human geography, Population, Urban environments | Leave a Comment »

African Urban Planning. Way Forward for Africa’s Cities?

Posted by Lindy on October 20, 2011

African Urban Planning. Way Forward for Africa’s Cities?

15 October 2011

An important dimension of Africa’s demographic change is rapid urbanisation. The problem of urbanisation in Africa, however, is not merely the number of urban residents. Compared to other regions, Africa still has one of the lowest levels of urbanisation in the world. According to UN estimates, only 40 per cent of the region’s population lived in urban areas in 2010, compared to about 50 per cent globally. The concern over Africa’s urbanisation, rather, is with its speed: while the roughly 3.3 billion worldwide urban resident population is projected to double by 2050, Africa’s 373 million urban resident population is expected to more than double by as early as 2030, and much of this growth is concentrated in a few areas.

The 2010 population of Lagos Metropolitan Area, for instance, was estimated to be over 12 million, and Kinshasa-Brazzaville was 10.5 million, which now both classified as megacities. Another notable aspect of urbanisation in Africa is that it has not been accompanied by improvements in basic living standards. Unlike in some of the other regions, Africa’s urbanisation is driven by the “push” factors, too many people trying to make a living in rural areas, desertification, lack of resources and wars rather than “pull” factors that result from economic opportunities in the cities.

The region has experienced little or no industrial growth to support this rapid growth of cities, and many African cities are imploding due to infrastructure overload. African urbanisation thus runs counter to the general theory that urbanisation provides greater access to jobs, basic services, and social safety nets.

Africa’s urbanisation challenges

1. Making a living in African cities

A lack of economic opportunities compels Africa’s urban residents towards an array of creative, innovative and inventive strategies to make a living. The informal sector absorbs over 60 per cent of the urban labour force in some African countries, with women forming a large majority of proprietors. While the informal sector has always been part of the urban economy in Africa, many urban residents are now involved in “multiple livelihood strategies”, as people are compelled to employ diversified means of income generation through the acquisition of additional jobs. This practice is not only limited to those in the informal sector, but also by those sections of the population dependent on fixed wages. As a result, the informal sector is no longer the preserve of the poor, but also includes professionals, administrators and other highly ranked formal sector employees. Another activity that many urban residents, including the poor and slum residents, engage in is urban agriculture. Over a third of Kampalans, for instance, now claim to practice it.

2. Difficulty of providing infrastructure

The chaotic expansion of urban spaces in Africa limits the ability of national and local governments to provide urban security and a basic social infrastructure in areas such as health, education, water, and sewage disposal facilities. As a result slums or shanty towns grow, overcoming and swallowing what little crumbling infrastructure that already exists. Many African city dwellers do not have access to electricity or potable water. Waste disposal presents a tremendous health hazard, and indoor air pollution, poor nutrition and urban crime all pose further threats. Slums face additional environmental challenges due to the low quality of construction materials and location on marginal ground. Many slums also flood routinely, and are vulnerable to accidental or malicious fires. The emerging threat of climate change is only likely to intensify these problems.

3. Slum growth

Slums are becoming the norm in the urbanisation of Africa. Nairobi’s slums, for instance, account for about a quarter of the city’s estimated total population of around three million. Poverty, deprivation, crime, violence and general human insecurity have become more prevalent. The unhealthy environment and overcrowded housing expose the urban poor to high rates of infectious diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and diarrhoea. In some African cities, slums emerge due to the lack ownership of land, while inappropriate zoning laws and building codes seem to be the culprits in others.

4. Disease

Urbanisation generally has positive effects on overall human health. African cities, however, have mixed effects on the spread of diseases. On the one hand, urban areas in Africa have better health status because of the availability of healthcare facilities and lower malaria infection rates, due in part to the availability of bed-nets. On the other hand, HIV infection rates are generally higher in urban areas and especially high in slums, where sexual coercion and violence against women accelerate its spread.

5. Urban environmental problems

As African cities become overcrowded, the pollution of the urban environment exacerbates environmental disasters and contributes to health problems. Heavy traffic and emissions are the cause of respiratory problems, heavy noise pollution, road accidents and stressful journeys, as well as other urban nuisances. Industrial and residential emissions, domestic wood and coal fire emissions, crude dumping of solid waste and improper landfills, sewers, septic or fuel tank leakages and water effluents all contribute to the degradation of environmental health in already overcrowded cities. Food and other contaminants, as well as communicable diseases – cholera, malaria, and diarrhoea, amongst others – also threaten the life and health of urban dwellers. These areas are also more vulnerable to health hazards like natural disasters.

Posted in Human geography, Population, Urban environments | Leave a Comment »

Why low migration levels threaten the UK’s economic and social health

Posted by Lindy on April 24, 2009

This article in the guardian by Prof  Danny Dorling says that becasue we having an aging population and low birth rate, we need immigrants to support increasing high *dependency ratio. Many places in the developed world have a similar problem, and each will have to make themselves welcomimg enough to attract immigrants. If we lack the right attitude and enough well paid jobs, then we will loose out. Read here to see what Danny Dorling has to say

*dependency ratio –The number of children (aged under 15) and old people (aged 65
and over) related to the number of adults of working age(between 15 and 64). In other words, the first 2 groups are dependent on the last for support – too many dependents, and we have a problem!

Posted in Development, IGCSE, Migration, Population | Leave a Comment »

Just a tryout

Posted by Lindy on July 20, 2008

Posted in One child policy, Population | Leave a Comment »