The main change in the location of the worlds top 20 most populous cities between the 50 years (from 1950-2000) is the change in countries which these cities are located in. In the year 1950 most cities (65%–13 out of 20 countries) were located in economically more developed countries (such as USA, Mexico, European nations, and Japan). However in the year 2000 the majority of the cities (80%–16 out of 2o countries) were located in economically less developed countries and NICs (such as Brazil, Argentina, India, China, Philippines, and Indonesia).
Countries such as Argentina, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Pakistan, Egypt which were not one of the top most populous cities in 1950 but are predicted to be in the year 2000 are also ELDCs which again fit into the trend that the top 20 cities that are the most populous are shifting from EMDCs to ELDCs.
This trend is also strengthen by the fact that in 1950, there were 7 out of 20 cities in Europe however the prediction for the year 2000 did not include any of the previous 7 cities within the ranking. Thus we can again conclude that the most populous cities in 2000 have shifted to cities located in ELDCs.
However there are cities that were located in both rankings. Those cities are located in Japan, USA, Mexico, Brazil, China, and India. These are countries which are either still developing (China, India, Brazil, Mexico) or countries which have an overall high population and population density (USA, Japan).
We can see that many of the countries which were expected to be one of the 20 most populous countries in the year 2000 are present in the newly industrializing countries. For example 2 of the 20 countries were located in china, 1 in the Philippines, 1 in Indonesia, and 4 located in India; all of which are leading NICs. Through the 50years between the years 1950-2000, there was rapid industrialization of NICs (China, India, Indonesia, and Philippines).
This means that these nations went through a very rapid and pressured industrialization in order to develop their economy after the political/economical instability before the years of 1950. Throughout the 50years industrialization with the help of much government attention resulted in industrialization growth at an incredible rate. As a result of the rapid industrialization within these cities, job offers were created and thus called forth rural-urban migration. This led to mass urbanization within the countries, which meant the cities were more populous.
Another characteristic of the countries in the top 20 most populous countries in the year 2000 is that all of the countries are countries with a very high population followed by a high population density figure; showing that the cities would be more populous compared to others.
In addition to the increase in population for cities in ELDCs, there were decreases in the number of populous cities in EMDCs (such as US and European countries) within the rankings for the top 20 populous cities. This is not because the population within these cities dropped greatly in number, but because the number of population in these cities remained constant as other countries (ELDCs) kept increasing. It is said that the more developed a country is, the slower the population growth rate. For example the population growth rate of india in the year 2000 was 1.58% as oppsed to Japan which was 0.18%. EMDCs are more so approaching stage 4 or 5 on the demographic transition model which states that the population does not change by much. This means that as population in ELDCs grew, the population of the EMDCs started to stabilize, Thus the cities of EMDCs were kicked off the list for the top 20 more populous cities.
Another reason is as countries develop, more of the country becomes appealing to live in. thus people who may have migrated into the city during the 1950s may migrate back out into the periphery because of the overall development of the country. For example, it is not only in the cities where they have good education, healthcare, transportation and job opportunities. Thus in some cases there was a case of counter-urbanization.
Countries which are included in both rankings are countries which are still developing such as China, Brazil, and India. And also countries which are developed but still have a very high population and population density (such as USA and Japan).
An example of a country that has at least 40% of its population living in its capital city is South Korea. As of the year 2000, approximately 10.4 million people were resident in Seoul, including 13.1 million more people resident in suburbs surrounding the city. This makes up over 48% of the total population of South Korea (which is approx. 48 million). This shows that the city of Seoul is a crowded place with a population density greater than the periphery of the country.
Firstly, after the WWII and invasions by other countries, South Korea put a lot of attention and money towards industrializing the country in order for it to develop. But what made Korea differ from other countries in the same situation was their lack of natural resources. With South Koreas small area of land (223,170km2), agriculture was not their main source of economic income. Thus Korea turned to manufactured goods. This growth in producing manufactured goods took place mainly in Seoul (the capital), as this was where the government geared their investments to. In hope of rapid development, the Korean government put money towards the infrastructure within Seoul as well.
When rapid economic growth and development happened in the city, it attracted many people from the rural areas (rural-urban migration). This was because Seoul was much more developed than the rest of the country with better infrastructure, health care, education, sanitation, and most importantly job opportunities. As manufacturing firms and other sectors flourished during the development, more jobs needed to be filled in order for the industries to continue rapidly growing. This caused a mass number of rural-urban migration which resulted in a high population cluster in the city of South Korea.
This resulted in a high number of populations within the city of Seoul still today. This is because it is impossible to suddenly move the core of a country to other cities, and have people migrate out of Seoul in hope to decrease the problem of over population within Seoul. This is because in present times as well, more has advances within Seoul then the periphery. For example health services are more highly regarded in Seoul than it is in other countries. Also, education is more values within Seoul. Many of the top ranked high schools and universities are located within Seoul which again keeps attracting people to live in Seoul. Although the Governments will is to redistribute the population of South Korea more evenly, because of the circumstances (difference in development in core and periphery) this has been unsuccessful.
There are few consequences to the mass number of people in the city. One problem is overpopulation within the city. As a general trend, we can conclude that overpopulation causes many problems for a city such as congestion, and higher crime rate. This then becomes a growth pole, and continues growing, with most investment and growth focusing on that city at the expense of the periphery. Therefore, the primate city continues growing, while other cities’ growth stagnates or stays the same.