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What are the causes of urbanization?

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Quick Answer

Industrialization, modernization and economic opportunity cause urbanization, or an increase in the number of people moving from rural to urban areas. Urban areas offer better opportunities for employment, housing and education, and city living allows people to benefit from diversity and marketplace competition.

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What are the causes of urbanization?
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Full Answer

Cities offer access to wealth and services that many rural areas lack. Rural inhabitants typically move to cities to exploit economic opportunities and improve their social mobility. In some developing countries, urbanization results from farmers and others with little political power losing their land and moving to cities when conflicts arise over land rights. Similarly, violence and war cause people to flee from rural areas and seek safety in cities. The lack of specialist services in rural areas further stimulates urbanization. Students move to cities to attend universities, and the elderly move closer to hospitals and health services. Some people move to cities to seek out and join specific social communities.

The agricultural and industrial revolutions first sparked urban growth in the late 18th century and throughout the 19th century. The increasing number of factories in urban areas created a need for labor. In the United States and Europe, rural workers moved to the cities to satisfy this need. This initial movement was succeeded by the movement of others to provide various services for these workers. Each increase in the concentration of population further increased the social and economic opportunities for new migrants.

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