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Consider the validity and applicability of the demographic transition model for countries at different stages of development. (5 marks)

The demographic transition model is based on the experience of Europe between c.1750 and the late 20th century. Therefore it can be argued that it has become outdated. It is not universally applicable because of: the availability of artificial contraception in most societies today, the influence of governments in promoting family planning programmes, advances in medical technology which are widely available in LEDCs, progress in the education of women and gender equality, higher levels of urbanisation relative to economic development than in the past and the regional impact of epidemics, such as HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa

Describe the economic, social and environmental impact of migration to urban areas in LEDCs. (7 marks)

In economic terms, migrants to cities in LEDCs provide a relatively cheap supply of labour, filling job vacancies in poorly paid sectors of the urban economy such as domestic service, manual labouring and public transport. They also help the urban economy through self-employment, providing a whole range of services for millions of people in slums and informal settlements.

The social impact of migrants is less positive. Most migrants are forced to live in slum districts where lack of employment and poverty increase the incidence of crime (e.g. drug dealing, robbery). Lack of suitable housing in the slums and informal settlements results in overcrowding: whole families often living in makeshift dwellings comprising a single room. Slum cities in many LEDCs reflect local authorities’ inadequate financial resources to meet the demand for housing. The scale of the problem, due to in-migration and natural increase, is simply overwhelming. Other services, such as education and healthcare, are often absent, and at best inadequate.

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