DEVELOPMENT REPORT - Urban Growth StudyBy Caty Weaver
This is Bill White with the VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT.
A new study says the number of people in developing countries will increase by almost two-thousand-million people in the next twenty years. The study says ninety percent of that growth will happen in cities. It says more than half the populations of Africa and Asia will live in cities in twenty years. And, it says more than seventy-five percent of people in Latin America already do.
The International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D. C. , carried out the study. James Garrett was one of the researchers. He says there are a number of reasons for the expected huge increase in city populations.
Mr. Garrett says economic reasons are forcing people to leave farm areas. He says some government development policies fail to serve farm workers. He says big farming companies are taking more land and are leaving less land for small farm owners.
Big companies also have large equipment to carry out production. So fewer farm workers are needed. Mr. Garrett says the decrease in employment possibilities in farm areas makes people want to move to cities.
There may be more chances for work in cities in developing nations. However, the study says cities do not usually provide better living conditions. Mr. Garrett says most people who leave farming areas move to extremely poor areas that surround cities. He says these places often lack water, waste systems, schools or health centers.
And, the study says many people who move to cities lack job skills. Most of them find work only in dangerous and temporary jobs for low pay.
The study warns that it will become increasingly difficult to feed the growing populations of cities in developing nations. It says food prices will increase because more food will have to be imported. The cost of food in these cities already is thirty percent higher than in farming areas. And, the study says small farms near cities create health risks. Chemicals used in farming can pollute water systems. So can waste materials produced by farming.
Mr. Garrett says industrial nations should be concerned about the expected population changes in developing countries. He says dealing with the issue now can prevent political insecurity in developing countries later.
This VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT was written by Caty Weaver. This is Bill White.