The role of biological and economic factors in urban population growth

Nadezhda V. Shcherbakova


This paper explores the influence of biological mechanisms in overpopulated territories on urban growth and addresses the question how biological factors correlate with economic factors, such as GDP growth, in this process. The article provides an overview of the approaches in regional economics, ethology and demography to this problem. To analyze the influence of biological and economic factors on urbanization, four hypotheses are formulated. To test these hypothesis, methods of regression analysis are applied to the statistical data of the United Nations and the World Bank for 132 countries for 1995, 2005, 2015. The analysis shows that the biological mechanisms of population reduction play a significant role in the least and less developed countries. Per capita GDP growth leads to an increase in the concentration of population in big cities (with the population of 1 million inhabitants or more). The total fertility rate varies significantly in these countries, but as the population starts to grow, fertility begins to fall gradually. In more developed countries with a high per capita GDP level, the share of urban population tends to shrink, while the total fertility rate stabilizes there at the level of ca. 1.0-2.0 births per woman.


urbanization, overpopulation, fertility rate, birth rate, population density, level of economic development

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