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Chapter 15

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Sociology 2140
Gale Cassidy

Chapter 15: Population, Urbanization, and the Environmental Crisis GLOBAL POPULATION PROBLEMS Population Growth • Growth rates vary among nations: high-income nations have a lower growth rate than low- income nations • Demography: the study of the size and distribution of populations • Global population changes are important because they have a powerful influence on social, economic, political structures within and between societies • 3 factors affect the rate of population growth in any nation: 1. Fertility: # of live births per female or # of children born to an individual or a population  The rate that a countries needs to replace itself is 2.1 children per female  The level of fertility in a society is associated with social and biological factors (ex. Countries with high rates of infant mortality have high birth rates) • High-income countries have low fertility because more occupational opportunities for women, effective birth control, cost of raising children is high • General biological factors such as health and nutrition will have an impact • Sometimes, politics are factors (China’s one-child policy)  Children may be seen as “insurance plans” in nations without social security, in other countries it is proof of manliness and others see children as god given and family planning is forbidden 2. Mortality: # of deaths in a population  Mortality and infant mortality rates have declined (control of diseases), especially in high-income nations  Infant mortality rate has decreased globally but vary widely between countries  While life expectancy is rising, in some areas it's falling because of conflict 3. Migration: movement of people from one geographic area to another  Immigration: movement into a geographic area; Emigration: movement out of geographic area  Official immigration stats don’t reflect the actual # of immigrants who arrive here: record only legal immigrants (not temporary visitors who end up staying)  Refugee: those who leave their countries because of persecution for racial, religious, nationality reasons  Net migration = immigrants – migrants in a year (Canada gets a lot) The Impact of Population Growth • Population growth affects population composition: biological and social characteristics of a population (age, sex, race, marital status) • Countries that have the highest rates of growth have the most human suffering o Ex:Africa (fastest growing region in the world) has the most suffering • The Malthusian Perspective: if left unchecked, the global population would exceed the available food supply o The population would surpass the food supply, ending population growth and eliminating the world population o Only positive checks (ex. famine) or preventative checks (ex. abstinence) can limit people's fertility • The Neo-Malthusian Perspective: "population explosion" need o The world population growth is following the exponential growth pattern Malthus described o The earth is a dying planet with too many people in relation to available food supply • Demographic Transition Theory: societies move from high birth and death rates to low birth and death rates due to technological development; 4 stages: 1. Preindustrial stage: little population growth (high birth + high death rates) 2. Transitional/early industrial stage: high population growth (high birth + low death rates) 3. Advanced industrialization and urbanization: (low birth + low death rates) 4. Postindustrial stage: population grows very slowly(decreasing birth rate + stable death rate) • Technology can overcome the predictions of both Malthus theories (contraception, meds) o Criticism: not all nations go through all stages (only explains Western societies) World Hunger • Consequences of rapid population growth: food shortages, chronic hunger, and malnutrition o Especially in low-income nations o 25% of the world’s children are undernourished • Chronic undernourishment contributes to child health problems (anemia, stunting, underweight) • Efforts to reduce world hunger: programs by UN, WHO, Red Cross and: • The Green Revolution: dramatic increases in agricultural production that have been made possible by high-yield "miracle" crops, pesticides, fertilizers, good farm management o Helped to increase the global food supply at a faster pace than the global population grew (70s), but then the agricultural production slowed (80s and 90s) o The miracle crops (new type of wheat=more stalks) increased food production in LatinAmerica and Asia, but notAfrica because the irrigation systems were expensive o For this to eliminate hunger, the social organization of life in middle- and low-income nations would have to change significantly (ex. people would have to use Western methods of farming  willing to produce a single crop in a very high volume, yet this can lead to nutritional deficiencies if other foods are not available) • The Biotechnological Revolution: techniques for improving plants or animals, or using microorganisms in innovative ways o Ex: Developing pest-resistant crops (reducing need for pesticides); using growth hormones to increase milk output in cows o Possibility of closing the gap between worldwide food production and rapid population growth o Problems: (1) giving growth hormones to animals can make their meat unfit for eating, (2) middle- and lower-income nations can't afford the costs, (3) must use Western farming methods (4) genetic erosion (may make less variety of plans available) (5) environmental accidents (potential hazards) CONTROLLING FERTILITY • 3 preconditions necessary before there can be a decline in a society's fertility (Coale): 1. People must accept calculated choice as a valid element in martial fertility: if people believe a supernatural power controls human reproduction, they won't try to limit fertility 2. People must see advantages to reduced fertility: must have some reason to want to limit fertility 3. People must know about and master effective techniques of birth control Family Planning • Family planning programs in the developing world provide: birth control info, contraceptive devices, sterilization/abortion procedures, heath services o Based on the assumption that women don't know how to prevent pregnancy • These programs do little to reduce a couple's desire to have kids Zero Population Growth • Definition: Atotally stable population that neither grows nor decreases because births, deaths, and migration are in perfect balance • Canada is nearing zero population growth because: o High proportion of women and men in the labour force find satisfaction outside of family life o Birth control is inexpensive and easily available o Trend toward later marriage o Cost of raising a child is rising fast o Schools make teens more aware of how to control fertility IMMIGRATION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES • High rates of immigration are changing the composition of the Canadian population o 20% of the population comes from a different country • Some think immigrants cost taxpayers millions each year in adjustment and education costs o But also, immigrants contribute as workers and consumers to the economy • Recent immigrants don't have as many opportunities as their predecessors • Recent immigrants were found to be less competent with literacy, numeracy compared with Canadian born people o Also that those immigrants who received their education in Canada had higher skills than those who received those skills in their home country o However, once skill levels were controlled, no significant difference was found between earnings of immigrants and Canadian born people CHANGES IN CANADIAN CITIES Early Urban Growth and Social Problems • The increased services our cities have had to provide put strains on their capacity to provide support for Canada's new economy • The Industrial Revolution brought urbanization: increasing proportion of the population lives in cities rather than rural areas o Canada industrialized after World War 1, increase in ownership for urban houses Contemporary Urban Growth • Postwar suburban boom (after WWII) o “bedroom communities” because most of the communities were there on nights and weekends but went to the city for entertainment, jobs and shopping o other things that contributed to suburban boom: inexpensive land, low-cost construction o they paid their taxes to their local community which contributed to good schools, libraries, etc • Edge city: middle- to upper-class area with complete living & working & shopping so that it isn't dependent on the central city or other suburbs o Begin as residential areas, then stores and offices move there o Automobiles primary source of transportation o Drain taxes from central cities and suburbs (no governing body) • When metropolitan areas merge into a megalopolis, there are big population changes that can bring about social problems and inequalities based on race, class, gender o Acontinuous concentration of 2 or more cities and their suburbs that have grown until they form an interconnected urban area URBAN PROBLEMS IN CANADA Fiscal Crisis in Cities • Canada has been in better financial shape than the US, but government cutbacks have left Canadian cities with financial difficulties • Deindustrialization: the process by which capital is diverted from investment in basic industries to business practices such as mergers and acquisitions and foreign investment • One plan to help cities: build homes on sites of abandoned factories The Crisis in Urban Health Care • Because 80% of the population lives in cities, most of our social problems are urban problems • People from poor areas have higher rates of admission and re-admission for hospitals o Cost of care is greater for the poor than for the wealthy neighbourhoods o If hospitals in DT neighbourhoods don't get additional resources, they won't be able to provide proper care for the disadvantaged people Housing Problems • There has been a significant increase in homelessness especially for families with kids • Housing is still an income issue, only 40% of people in the lowest income quintile own their homes • Housing shortage: social housing is needed for pockets of poverty o Habitat for Humanity: volunteers build homes for needy families o St. Lawrence neighbourhood (Toronto): housing project development that has become a neighbourhood  Socially mixed, tenure mixed (condos, townhouses)  Demonstrates that public planning of large development projects can be successful • Since 1970’s, some middle and upper class families and developers have re-entered central city areas o Gentrification: when people restore properties in central cities  Some see it as a way to revive the central city; others think it pushes the poor out of an area they used to live in • Homelessness: survey conducted in Toronto o 75% were male, average age 38 for men and 36 for women, most sleep in shelters o Those who sleep outside: 25% were Indigenous; they were homeless for longer (6 years) than others, 70% were alone, likely to sleep on the sidewalk/park o Due to unavailability of low-income housing and mental-health care o Studies focus on the term specialism: which is the assumption that individual characteristics of poor people cause their homelessness  this downplays the significance of structural factors Spatial Separation of the Poor and Visible Minorities • The increasing immigration of racial minorities makes it possible that segregation problems could occur in Canada (like the US) • Big increase in% of visible minorities, which often move to cities (especially fromAsia) • Proportion of minorities in a census metropolitan area (CMA): o Maps: they are more concentrated Montreal than in Toronto or Vancouver, where they are more evenly distributed  In Montreal, Blacks have a higher unemployment rate (segregation) o But this doesn't indicate the extent of segregation in that area • The mass immigration of visible minorities has created more visible minority neighbourhoods o Most are Chinese; few are Black o Toronto and Vancouver have more than Montreal o There are positives (they provide support for immigrants and promote ethnic diveristy) and negatives (social isolation, unemployment and low income) Box 15.1-Giobal Cities • More people worldwide will live in or near a city than in rural areas • Problems due to rapid global urbanization: overcrowding, environmental pollution, disappearing farmlands • Ranking cities based on the position of their nation in the world economic system: 1. Core nations: dominant capitalist centers; high industrialization (ex. NY, Tokyo, London) 2. Peripheral nations: dependent on core nations; exploited resources (ex. Cairo) 3. Semi-peripheral nations: in between (ex. Sao Paulo)  BUT this can't account for cities that are major hubs but aren't in core nations (ex. Beijing) • Foreign Policy index of global cities based on 5 criteria: business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience, political engagement o NY, London, Paris, Tokyo...Toronto • Final way of identifying global cities: % of foreign-born population o By this measure, Toronto is the most global city (approximately 45% foreign born) PERSPECTIVES ON URBAN PROBLEMS The Functionalist Perspective • Focus on 3 problems that disrupted social institutions: 1. Mass migration from rural to urban areas during industrialization o Contributed to social disorganization by weakening personalities in families, religion, etc. 2. Large-scale immigration was more than most cities could handle o Larger numbers of strangers living closer together brought social disorganization (crime, mental illness) o Durkheim: urban life changes people's relationships  Rural areas characterized by mechanical solidarity: social bonds based on shared religious beliefs and a simple division of labour (changed by urbanization)  Urban areas characterized by organic solidarity: social bonds based on interdependence and an elaborate division of labour  Although Durkheim was optimistic and thought urbanization could be positive; he also thought that many things were lost in th
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