According to a new UN report, half of the world’s population–3.3 billion–will soon be living in urban areas. The explosion of urban growth is occuring mostly in developing regions, such as in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. By 2030, developing countries are expected to have 80 percent of the world’s urban population. The massive growth is explained by high birth rates in poor urban areas rather than by a large migration out of rural communities.
There has already been lots of concern about overcrowded slums in Kenya, Nigeria, Delhi, and all over the developed world. Trash, human excrement, and other health dangers are prevalent. Further urban growth would complicate this even more and require some new policies on the national level.
I also wonder what the implications will be on trade policy. As I noted in a previous post, lower commodity prices are good for consumers in urban areas but can be harmful to growers in rural areas. If there is an urban explosion as the UN report suggests, what can and should policymakers do to preserve fair standards of living for the rural population?