Population redistribution

On a global stage, urbanisation has been one of the defining trends of the past decades. The economic gulf between gateway cities on the one hand and smaller towns and the countryside on the other has been steadily growing. However, cities across the world are becoming victims of their own success. The gravitation of populations towards urban centres has in most cases not been matched by equivalent expenditure in infrastructure, leaving them stretched. Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin, the thinning out of rural areas creates different problems, with concentrations of poorer and less mobile populations developing. A report by Forbes this week, which analyses new data from the US National Institute for Healthcare Management finds that those living in rural areas are older, have higher rates of obesity and are more likely to live below the poverty line. However, per capita, there are fewer healthcare practitioners and fewer hospitals in these areas in spite of the elevated need. Meanwhile, in Australia, the government announced this week that it is redistributing the number of skilled visas in favour of those willing to live in the country’s regions rather than its three big cities (where the population is growing at double the rate). The potential for a reversal of the urbanisation trend in mature economies feels eminently possible, whether by choice (e.g. in London and New York, where the trend is to outward migration to secure better standards of living) or through intervention (as in the case of Australia). #population #infrastructure