Rural and urban societies
Rural and urban societies
Rural and urban societies usually differ on different aspects. The rural and urban populations in developing societies and the United States of America (US) have some similarities in terms of population characteristics, economic activities and education. Urban populations usually differ from rural populations as a result of concentration of amenities and activities. For a long time, there has been a consistent migration from rural to urban areas as people go to search for better career prospects in the urban areas. This leads to a gap in distribution of wealth and resources between the rural and urban areas (Ogunnika, 2017). Consequently, political, economic and cultural activities are mainly concentrated in urban areas where most opportunities are. It is the role of governments to ensure equitable wealth distribution in both urban and rural areas
In terms of population and distribution, in both the US and developing societies, urban areas still have higher population numbers compared to rural areas. Moreover, the population distribution in urban areas is dense compared to scarce in the urban areas. The reasonsinclude the fact that many people relocate from the rural areas to urban areas in search of jobs, education and access to facilities which the rural areas may lack (Ogunnika, 2017). Urban areas present better opportunities for career and educational development due to the high number of active sectors of the economy in comparison to rural areas. However, in both the US and developing nations, the high population numbers in urban areas present issues like overcrowding, traffic jams and high crime rates (Strayer et al., 2013). Also, due to sparse settlements in the rural areas, their activity spaces are larger than those in urban settlements. Rural areas have more green areascompared to the extensive built-up areas in the urban areas.
Concerning economic activities, urban areas are highly industrialized hence there are many contributors to the economy. Urban areas have specialized industries like banking, information, and communication technology, and transport among many other sectors. Populations living in urban areas have attained higher levels of education and therefore prefer to seek jobs in areas where the opportunities for employment in the numerous companies and businesses exist. This means that the urban population is heterogeneous concerning the economic activities they engage in (Strayer et al., 2013). In contrast, most of the rural community engage in agriculture as the primary economic activity.
Moreover, other activities such as mining are also more prevalent in the rural areas. As a result, regarding economic activity, the rural populations are highly homogenous. Traditionally, economic growth from the rural areas has been slow, but the situation has been changing. In the recent past, some companies in the US have a preference for rural areas when setting up their factories and plants. These provide more employment opportunities and result in less rural-urban migration. The factories also offer the rural areas opportunity to expand through an increase in the number of businesses to serve the factory workers.
Urban populations also typically have higher incomes compared to counterparts in rural areas. Living standards in the urban areas is much higher than in the rural areas, thus the wages must be commensurate with living standards of the area one lives.In developing societies, most of the rural populations live in poverty (Ogunnika, 2017). Furthermore, a larger proportion of workers in urban areas are highly skilled compared to rural areas where the jobs require unskilled or semi-skilled personnel. As a result, urban populations have more disposable income, which leads to a lot of economic, political and cultural attention in these areas. Hence, social amenities such as schools and hospitals and infrastructure are well developed and maintained in the urban areas. The urban areas will therefore easily build an identity.
In contrast, rural populations normally have to travel for long distances to access some social amenities since they are not present within the rural centers. The net effect is that more business in the urban areas implies that their local authorities receive more revenue due to the high levels of productivity. In turn, urban areas will contribute more to the national economy compared to rural areas (Strayer et al., 2013). However, in recent times, as the rent and living standards continue to increase in the urban areas, more people are shifting to non-urban areas that are within commuting distances to urban areas commonly known as hinterlands. As a result, more businesses are moving into the hinterland to support the workers living in the areas. This may lead to development reaching the rural areas much faster.
Moreover, counter to popular belief, rural areas in the US have more entrepreneurial spirit compared to urban areas. Most start-ups begin in rural areas before they move to metropolitan areas after success. Most workers in rural areas are self-employed business proprietors. It is understandable since industries with salary jobs are scarce in the areas (Strayer et al., 2013). Also, the survival rate for start-ups in rural areas has consistently been higher than that of urban areas. This is despite the advantages that the urban areas enjoy in terms of denser networks of suppliers, workers and markets compared to rural areas. The higher survival rate for rural start-ups may be attributed to the more cautious business practices adopted by rural entrepreneurs. They have to be more cautious than their urban counterparts since they have fewer alternative options for employment. However, most start-ups in developing countries thrive in urban areas more than rural areas. In such societies, the higher purchasing power of urban populations is the key factor to success. Rural populations there have very low purchasing power and rely on subsistence farming for survival (Ogunnika, 2017). Urban entrepreneurs in both US and developing societies engage in risky ventures due to the cut-throat competition and availability of numerous businesses where they can seek employment in case the start-ups prove to be unsuccessful.
The role of governments in rural development is to support the local areas and make them more attractive to workers and businesses. Provision and maintenance of infrastructure are essential in ferrying people and goods to and from the rural areas. The increased accessibility thus opens up the areas to new opportunities. Also, amenities such as communication channels, schools, and hospitals are among key factors that attract people to any locality (Strayer et al., 2013). Availability of internet in the rural areas would attract entrepreneurs in areas such as information and communication technologies, whomainly prefer urban areas. Furthermore, supporting local entrepreneurs is essential through ways such as agricultural subsidies and marketing of the products for sale to other distant markets (Ogunnika, 2017). Moreover, supporting the local markets in rural areas is also helpful as most of the products in such markets are produced locally, in comparison to most products in urban areas where most products are imported.
The government can also encourage foreign investors to concentrate their operations in the rural areas where land and other factors of production may be cheaper. This will boost the local economies and employ the population. The government can also persuade urban consumers to buy locally-made products to support the businesses especially in this age of global trade where cheaper goods can be easily imported (Strayer et al., 2013). Through the above ways, rural development is attained faster. With relation to urban development, the role of the government is to provide and maintain infrastructure in terms of adequate housing and transport networks as these are the backbones of urban economies. The government should also take steps to encourage depopulation of urban areas by building amenities and housing in the hinterlands from where people working in urban areas can easily commute. The ever-increasing urban population puts a strain on the social amenities in urban areas.