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Edited by Gary Paul Green
Chapter 6: Migration and rural development: resettlement, remittances and amenities
Economic growth and population growth are interdependent. Vibrant economies can be veritable magnets that attract newcomers, but population growth, conversely, is critically important for fostering vibrant economies. A growing workforce increases economic productivity and distributes the expense of caring for a society’s children, elderly and non-workers. Local population growth also appeals to outside investors looking to expand their profitability. On the contrary, population decline warrants careful fiscal planning at the national level, and locally it can demand more urgent measures. Migration has long been a means for securing rural economic strength through population growth, but contemporary declines in birth and death rates have made it increasingly important. The world over, humans generally have fewer children and live longer than previous generations, a phenomenon known as the demographic transition (Caldwell and Caldwell 2006; Davis 1945). However, different places are at different stages in the demographic transition, and they remain widely disparate in their levels of economic and political stability. Under these geographically unequal circumstances, modern economies rely on flows of workers moving across national and regional borders, typically from poorer, unstable places to wealthier and politically stable places (Castles and Miller 2009). These migration patterns have proven crucial for development prospects in the world’s rural communities.Rural populations in most of the world experience some form of instability related to in- and out-migration.
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