Migration, Population Growth, and Development

 This report provides an overview of migration, population growth, and development.  The population of the developing world increased dramatically from 1.7 billion in 1950 to 3.3 billion in 1980.  This increase was expressed in rapid urbanization and large-scale international labor migration.  Approximately 1 billion people now live in developing country cities and there are 15-20 million international migrant workers.  Concern that rapid urban growth may slow economic development has led many governments to develop policy measures to discourage migration or divert migration from the largest cities.  These efforts, which have had mixed results, require longterm political commitment, considerable funds, administrative efficiency, and sometimes coercion.  There is evidence that policies to manage and channel rural-to-urban migration may be more effective than policies aimed at preventing it.  However, as long as birthrates remain high in some areas and large wage differentials exist between jobs in different places, most of these policies will have little impact on longterm trends.  Family planning programs can play an important role in population distribution by addressing the problem of high natural growth (the source of 60% of urban growth), reducing the volume of potential migrants, and reducing the rural/urban fertility difference that contributes to migration.  It is expected that the impact of family planning on population distribution will become recognized as a benefit of family planning as the relationship between population growth policies and population distribution policies becomes increasingly apparent.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health,Center for Communication Programs,Population Information Program