Causes of Urbanization: An Analysis

Our century is the Urban Century. Soon the world will become a giant urban system. Urbanization and the fast growth of cities and towns have become one of the major characteristics of the present century. Urban life is now way of life of modern man.

Causes of Urbanization

  • An Efficient Agricultural System

The efficient agricultural system makes the surplus quantity of food possible to sustain the urban population. With surplus food production more and more people turn to activities other than primary, and the process of urbanization goes on.

  • The invention of power-driven machinery

    The industrial revolution was a major trigger for accelerated urbanization process. Factories development accentuated the process. The concentration of production into bigger factories requiring a large number of workers

  • The development of Trade and Services

Employment in the service or tertiary sector of the labour force has been an important factor in the growth of cities. Growing trade and expansion of the service sector is a vital factor even today.

  • Development of Transportation
    • It allows goods to be transported freely and contributed to the process of urbanization.
    • Transport makes possible for people and ideas to move freely
    • Intra-urban transportation
    • Enable mass movement of persons between home and workplaces.
    • Widespread use of automobile and truck
    • Decentralization of individuals and functions within urban areas
  • Demographic and Social Factors

    Natural Growth of Cities – About 20% of urbanization takes place through natural growth of cities. The improvement of sanitation, health care, social welfare and improvement of other infrastructural facilities added to the process.

    Rural-urban Migration

    About 70% of urbanization is attained by the rural-urban migration.

Industrial Revolution

At the end of 19th century, the advent of Industrial Revolution happened and it encompassed mainly Western Europe and North America. Causes were farming mechanization, Increased agricultural efficiency, released labour forces from rural areas due to increased agricultural efficiency.The fast development of industries in cities provided many new jobs.

Now Urbanization is slowing increasing down in developed countries but increasing in developing countries

Rural-Urban Migration

Origin: Rural Area

Push factors

  • Unemployment for mechanization
  • A low standard of living
  • Low wages
  • Poor education
  • Poor view of future

Destination: Urban Area

Pull Factors

  • Many job opportunities for industrialization
  • A higher standard of living
  • More education
  • Higher wages
  • Better health care
  • A better view of future

Origin: Urban Area

Push factors

  • Overcrowded living environment
  • Pollution
  • Traffic congestion
  • High crime rate
  • Higher land rent.

Destination: Rural Area/ New Town

Pull Factors

  • More open space, a more pleasant living environment.
  • Fresh and  quiet air
  • Lower land rent
  • Lower crime rate
  • Large modern shopping centres in the suburb.
  • Large modern factories, more job opportunities


Subarbanization is a new reality of our times. Many people migrate out of town due to the following reasons.


  • Satellite and new town formation
  • Improvement of living standard
  • Improvement of transport between CBD and suburban
  • Government policy, eg. Urban renewal programme
  • Slum clearance

Defining Characteristics of City

In 1950 Gordon Childe attempted to define a city with 10 general metrics. These are:
• Size and density of the population should be above normal.
• Differentiation of the occupation of the population. Not all residents grow their own food, leading to specialists.
• Payment of taxes to a deity or a king.
• Monumental public buildings.
• Those not producing their own food are supported by the king.
• Systems of recording and practical science.
• A system of writing.
• Development of symbolic art.
• Trade and import of raw materials.
• Specialist craftsmen from outside the kin-group.
This categorization is used as a general touchstone when considering ancient cities, although not all have each of its characteristics.

About Rashid Faridi

I am Rashid Aziz Faridi ,Writer, Teacher and a Voracious Reader.
This entry was posted in opinions, Urban Studies. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Causes of Urbanization: An Analysis

  1. 70% through RU migration? That’s rather high and I’d challenge that figure. Where are you getting that number from?


  2. Pingback: Urban Sphere of influence | Rashid's Blog

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