Population and Urbanization

Introduction and Thesis Statement

The study of sociology is based on human population. Society is made up individuals. This means that human behavior in modern times and urban centers is a major ingredient of sociological studies. In order to understand how societies change, scholars have put forward several theories, models and frameworks. These models are not only geared towards understanding rules that govern social structure but also dynamics of change. In a special way, there is a lot of research on how change occurs or how it is resisted. Acceptance or resistance to change is also dependent of social groupings, social control and the environment. In the modern times, the rise and proliferation of urban centers and cities has changed traditional values. It has led to other critical issues such as sanitation, health, water, crime, violence, security and education. These represent intersection between population and urbanization. However, a more serious and contemporary issue has to do with human populations in urban areas affect ecology. With increased rate of change to modernity, there have been many social, political and economic changes that will continue to affect ecology in the future.

This essay seeks to explore the processes of social change that lead to unsustainable ecological endowment. The essay uses quality text such as academic journals and authoritative book. Academic journals were selected because they undergo a serious process of peer review. Further, cited books were used because they are either intensive in approach or have been written in form of articles by different scholars. Moreover, books do not undergo a rigorous review process as academic articles. Moreover, they provide useful insights into the study of population and urbanization. These books and articles will be used in terms of the topics they address best. Their use is also based on a conceptual model that flows from social structure ideals followed by migration to cities, then social change in cities and ecological effects of urbanization.

Importance of Population and Urbanization in Sociology

Population composition and change is very important in analyzing urbanization and its effects. People occupy urban centers and cities. Therefore, studying their social behavior helps in determining their needs in their traditional settings or cities (Kendall 502). In a special way, sociologists are interested in determining patterns of crime and consequently developing models to explain it. In the long run, it appears that sociologists become people’s advocates. This is because their insights are used in policy making for the benefit of human population. Such interventions are necessary in dealing with what Kohler and Alcock (343) call behavioral violence. The other importance is the fact that sociologists are interested in determining whether drivers of social change are the same across space. Social Change, Resistance and Social Practices compares behavior of people living in Mexico’s rural and urban settings. Further, contemporary sociology is concerned with the effect of social change, in the context of urbanization, on ecological sustainability. In other words, sociology understands human needs in order to offer contemporary problems (Rees 343).

Research Question

What is the effect of social change on urbanization?

Research Findings and Analysis

To understand how societies change, there is a need to first understand how society is constituted. Diana Kendall’s book offers one of the most extensive approaches to understanding social structure. According to Kendall (40), the bedrock of social structure is culture. In spite of how a society is structured, culture determines how people behave. In the context of urbanization, it appears that unless culture changes, people cannot move to cities. Kendall also recognizes the hierarchy of society from individual, family and community. If this hierarchy were to be applied in rural-urban migration, one would conclude that migration decisions are made at family level (Kendall 506). This could be possibly because migration to an urban center has cost implications for household finance. A closer scrutiny reveals that the possibility to move to a city depends on the capacity for the local culture to provide economic activities for its members. However, this view is anchored on the premise that decisions to move to a city depend on what agents of social change are most prevalent in a society. For instance, education and religion could be avenues of migration as was seen in Southern Mexico (Talcott in Dello Buono and Fasenfest 132).

Studies have found out that social change happens in the context of social groups. According to Kendall (315), social inequalities in America led to classism and sex-class stratification. As a result, those who were oppressed by the economic pressures of the time were more likely to move. It seems that the major reason as to why people go to urban centers is economic. This essay proposes a destructive and constructive response to social inequality. In constructive terms, a person tends to move to a city in order to look for better economic prospects. However, it has been found out that there is more classism and social stratification in urban areas. In destructive terms, sections of a population that are economically oppressed form violent and criminal gangs (Kohler and Alcock 343).

Crime and violence are social issues that are evident in an urban setting (Dello Buono and Fasenfest 75; Kohler and Alcock 350). Due to lack of opportunities, people result to unruly ways of making ends meet. In this regard, this essay sees economic life as a key determinant of social behavior. In other words, violence and crime cannot be exclusively looked at from social lens alone. Against this argument, it is expected that there is less violence and crime in rural areas or places where urban life is not yet proliferated. The next level of analysis seeks to determine whether urbanization leads to social change or the latter leads to urbanization. In the above case, lack of economic opportunities leads to increased crime rates. Therefore, urbanization leads to social change. But again, education and religion may also lead to people moving from rural to urban places. In this regard, social change leads to urbanization. In other words, there appears to be a reciprocal relationship between the two.

Human population affects urban ecology. Due to congestion, the carrying capacity is constrained. Issues of sanitation and hygiene arise. In highly congested areas, the concentration of carbon dioxide above the ground increase. This may affect the climate in the future. More precisely, expansion in human population leads to reduction in resources. As a result, William E. Rees explores the possibility of achieving ecological sustainability in the wake of increases urban numbers of people. In his “Achieving Sustainability: Reform or Transformation,” Rees raises an alarm. He observes that the global ecology is big enough but under-utilized. People living in cities are increasing at a higher rate than expansion in economies. Rees’ alarmism is almost obvious. Policy makers must be aware that failure to plan will soon lead to serious troubles (Rees 345). It is herein proposed that ecological sustainability in urban areas and beyond requires a political solution. Such a solution would see uncommitted political leaders being voted out if they do not implement ecologically-friendly policies.


People’s social lives affect urbanization and vise versa. This is because human beings are social animals that adapt to situations. In times of harsh economic conditions, they move to urban areas. Thus social change affects urbanization. On the other hand, when urban conditions become harsh, human beings are bound to be violent or criminal. This essay explored this reciprocal causality extensively. It investigated the foundations of social structure, agents of social change, social adaptation in cities and ecological sustainability. Both scholarly articles and books were not only cited but also critically analyzed. Indeed, there is no doubt that social change affects urbanization and vise versa.

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