Population change in rural and urban areas
The population changes that are taking place in countries at different stages of development also occur in smaller communities within those countries. The issues associated with ageing populations in more developed countries and those of youthful populations in less devloped countries appear at local as well as national scales. Most, if not all, rural and urban areas show the effect of population growth or loss, and of immigration and emigration. It is not possible or desirable to catergorise certain areas as loss and others as areas of gain. Some urban areas are losing population while others are gaining. A similar situation exists in rural areas.
Whatever the population change, from either natural growth or migration, there are effects on the areas themselves, and in particular on the provision of services.
Changes in rural settlements in the UK
Remote rural populations in the UK are declining whereas accessible rural-urban fringe areas are expanding. The consquences of decline include:
- many of the people left behind are elerly and of limited means
- houses are bought as second homes, creating a ghost town effect for much of the year
- deprivation sets it - many of the people left behind cannot move away and lead restricted lives
- a sense of isolation becomes pervasive
- breaking the spiral of decline and deprivation is the key issue
The consquences of expnasion include:
- creation of several small, new housing estate, often with houses that local people cannot afford
- many families have two or more cars, so there is an increase in traffic congestion, particulary at peak times
- villages are often dormitory villages - little life during the day
- conflicts can occur between established villagers and newcomers - local people may not feel that thier values are respected
- maintaining the rural identitity in an increasingly urban environment is a key issue.