The Cost of Urbanization

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The world population is vastly divided up on the basis of various factors. With the onset of urbanization in last few centuries, there was an influx of rural inhabitants to urban settlements. This division showed drastic differences in the urban and rural people – from their means of livelihood, their lifestyles, their sense of community and their infrastructure.

Despite the surge in development, the improved living conditions of the urban settlements failed to equally influence rural settlements. Consequently, a large gap between the standard of living of rural and urban dwellers is very evident.

For a clear understanding of the importance of rural settlements, the statistics are important to heed. In recent years, a historic change in urban population passed the half mark and now only 46.5% of the world’s population live in rural areas. But even with this transition, rural inhabitants are predominantly below the poverty line. About 70% of the world’s poor live in rural settlements.

In spite an overall decrease in developing world poverty percentages, there are still more than 2 billion people who live on less than 2 USD a day[I]. Out of the 1.4 billion in extreme poverty (less than 1.25 USD a day), 1 billion live are rural dwellers[II]. These figures are only very slowly improving and lots can be done in their aid.

Where does South Asia and specifically India stand in relation to these figures. Unfortunately, India is at the upper end of most affected developing countries. 20.6% of the world’s poor live in India[III]. 67.6% of India’s population live in rural areas[IV], over 80% of whom live on less than 2 USD a day.

These astonishing numbers only prove how slow the progress to stability in India is. There are so many questions are to be answered. Where do these people live? What is being done to help them? And most importantly, what more can be done?

[I] World Bank Poverty Review [II] IFAD Rural Poverty Report 2011 [III] Shawn Donnan- Financial Times, May 9 2014 [IV] Rural Population Data, World Bank

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