The Urbanization of India and the United StatesIn today’s world, around 54% of population lives in the urban areas, and this number is going to grow to 60% by 2050.
UN DESA’s Population Division noted in 2014 that the largest urban growth would take place in India, China and Nigeria (United Nations). As a post urbanized country, the U.S. can be the example of some trend for urbanizing countries. In this paper, I am going to compare the difference and similarity between India and the U.S.
‘s urbanization.India locates in the south of Asia which is normally called peninsular India. The peninsular is mostly constituted by Deccan plateaus.
Major rivers like Ganges and Brahmaputra that origin from Himalayan-origin flow through India and drain into Bay of Bengal. The annul wet monsoon from shores brings ample precipitation to the Western Ghats which makes this area become one of India’s most important farming area and one of the most populated areas in the south. With the help of river, Indus valley became the one of several birth places of early civilization (Nijman, Jan; Muller, Peter O.; de Blij, Harm J 283).
On the other side of the world, the United States locates in North America with Canada on the north and Mexico on the south. In the west, the U.S. is facing directly to the Pacific Ocean and has Pacific mountains extend all the way from Canada and to southern California. When we go toward the east, we can see Rocky Mountains extend through western in interior from Alaska to New Mexico. And then there are Interior low land and Great Plains around the Great Lakes. Keep heading to the east, we will see Appalachian Mountains form a corridor from Alabama and Georgia to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. And to the very east, that is the Atlantic Ocean (Nijman, Jan; Muller, Peter O.
; de Blij, Harm J 36- 37).Although India is not yet an urbanized country because her around 32 percent urban population comparing with America’s 80.7 percent in 2010 (City Lab), India is till facing a massive urbanization by hundreds of thousands people moving to the cities which makes the urban population in this country get a 3 percent annual growth (Nijman, Jan; Muller, Peter O.; de Blij, Harm J 308- 309).
According to America’s experience, urbanization is mostly due to the development of industrial revolution. The industrialization progress promoted great need of large labor. Those needs of labor attracted migration wave from rural area to urban cities where most factories located at. From 1880 to 1910, the number of employment of textiles grew 100 percent, mining grew 280 percent, construction grew 115 percent and railway grew 230 percent (Stanley Lbergott 122). In 1943, U.
S. Steel’s employment reached 340,498 (Len Boselovic), it shows the high labor needs during America’s urbanization. The industrial revolution also promoted the new means of transportation which makes traveling easier than before. From 1870 to 1920, the number people in America who live in the cities grew from 10 million to 50 million (The USA Online). People in India also go to cities for looking for jobs and they tend to be working in similar area comparing with Americans who had large number of employment growth in construction during their urbanization. 35.
08 percent employees in India work in the construction industry, which is the largest source of employment for migrants from villages (Live Mint). Employments in the construction sector are mostly seasonal, this issue actually slows down India’s urbanization. Besides seeking for the opportunities in the cities, India’s migration wave are some times also due to the desperate conditions in villages. Indian government and the World Bank has reported that 70% of the poor people, which are around 225 million, live in the villages. According to George Foundation’s survey over nine village in Hosur Taluk and Tamil Nadu state, more than 80 percent of the survey pool has a daily income less than one dollar (Wharton). Viewing from geographic aspect, America’s urbanization accompanied by the immigration from other countries while India’s migrants are mostly from domestic rural area.
From 1870 to 1890, Chicago’s residents grew from 300 thousand to more than one million, and three quarter of Chicago’s residents during this period were born overseas (The USA Online). Between 1900 and 1910, which is the period when American demand for manpower in resident construction, around 8 million immigrants arrived in America (Stanley Lebergott 123). In India, the migration waves are mostly from countrysides to coastal cities like Kolkata in the east, Mumbai in the west, and Chennai in the south. This is pretty much like America when her urbanization revealed people flowed into northeastern coastal areas like New York and southwest coast such as California. But India also has urbanization expands in the interior.
For example,Delhi overtook Mumbai in 2011 to become India’s largest city (Nijman, Jan; Muller, Peter O.; de Blij, Harm J 309).During the process of urbanization, large amount of people moving into cities normally leads to the generating of ghettos. In January 1894, because of the depression in 1983, nearly 70,000 New Yorkers and 25,000 people across the East River in Brooklyn were unemployed (Povertyhistory.org). With the help of couple policies on fighting the poverty and the improvement of economic condition, the poverty rate in America declined. But after world war II, America deeply participated the globalization.
The pursue for profit made companies in America gradually moved to low labor cost countries like China. And the innovation of new technologies established higher requirement for employees’ skills. Those change result in the fading industrialization in some areas of America. From about 1967 to 1987, cities such as New York, Chicago, and Detroit lost more than 50 percent of their manufacturing jobs (V. P. Franklin 325). Between 2009 to 2013, 13.8 percent of U.
S. population lived in high poverty areas. In Detroit, the number of high poverty census tracts tripled from 51 to 184 between 2000 and 2013.
In Syracause, the number of high poverty census tracts grew from 12 to 30 (Alana Semuels).India is also facing the same issue while it is still on the development of urbanization. Many people who move to cities end up with living in ghettos. According to India’s census, about 65.5 million people live in urban slums and sprawls (Manish Kumar). In Mumbai, more than one million people live in one of the world’s largest slums Dharavi with only one percent of properties have their own toilets. But different from America, many people live ghettos of India are not unemployed.
It is estimated that 85 percent of residents in the slum of Mumbai are employed. Recycling is considered as the biggest industry in Dharavi with estimated 50 thousand employees (Rob Cooper). Besides the low income level of poverty, the generalizing of India’s ghettos can be due to the shortage of houses.
An official economic survey states that there is a shortage of nearly 20 million homes in India (Manish Kumar). The shortage of houses keep the cost of living in some city areas of India on an unacceptable level considering the average income of workers in India. People who can not afford the high price of houses eventually choose to live in ghettos. ConclusionThe industrial development which creating more employment opportunities makes people moving to cities to improve the quality of life. This is probably the reason of population growth during industrial process of both countries. And both U.
S. and India have faced the growth of slum area in the cities. Although America is in the post urbanization period, it does not change poverty in the inner cities. The nature of immigration tradition make America’s urbanization more diverse than India whose most migrants to the cities are domestic. As two giant nations on the different sides of world, both U.S. and India do not skip urbanization this necessary historical progress. This progress is followed by both opportunities and challenges.
American could be a good example for India, or even all other developing countries in the world. But India has her own traits, maybe the living condition in India ghettos will improve eventually by the growth of country’s economy. But will the industrialization’s fading which happened in the U.
S. which led to many former workers go back to the poverty also happen in India one day? As a country which will soon take over China to have the world largest population, the welfare of nation’s majority people in the next decades should undoubtedly be considered by everyone in this world.