Volume 33 - Article 48 | Pages 1297–1332 Author has provided data and code for replicating results

Which transition comes first? Urban and demographic transitions in Belgium and Sweden

By Philippe Bocquier, Rafael Costa

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter

 

 
Date received:26 Jun 2015
Date published:17 Dec 2015
Word count:8857
Keywords:demographic transition, economic development, migration, urban transition
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2015.33.48
Additional files:readme.33-48 (text file, 207 Byte)
 demographic-research.33-48 (zip file, 154 kB)
 

Abstract

Background: Several theories compete to explain the main drivers of urbanisation, past and present, in relation to both demographic transition and economic development. One hypothesis is that rural-to-urban migration is the driver of urbanisation; another is that urban mortality decline actually triggered urban transition.

Objective: This paper reconsiders the relationship between demographic (vital) migration and urban transitions by analysing the long-term contribution of natural and migratory movements to urban transition. The respective contributions of birth, death, and migration and their timing will indicate whether economic development, through labour force migration, or vital transition mainly determines urban transition.

Methods: After examining the spatial dimension of the demographic transition theory, we use 19th and 20th century series on Sweden and Belgium to better identify the migration component of urban transition through the computation of growth difference between urban and rural areas, accounting for the often neglected reclassification effect.

Results: In both Sweden and Belgium, migration is the direct or indirect (through reclassification) engine of urban transition and its contribution precedes the onset of vital transition, while the vital transition has a secondary, unstable, and negative role in the urban transition.

Conclusions: Changes in the economic sphere are reinstated as the underlying cause of population change, acting through the shift of human capital in space. Methodological consequences are then drawn for analysing vital and urban transitions in an increasingly interdependent world.

Contribution: The paper contributes to the theoretical literature on urban and demographic transitions in relation to economic development. The proposed method evaluates migration contribution without having to measure it.

Author's Affiliation

Philippe Bocquier - Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium [Email]
Rafael Costa - Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Human capital on the move: Education as a determinant of internal migration in selected INDEPTH surveillance populations in Africa
Volume 34 - Article 30

» Circular migration patterns and determinants in Nairobi slum settlements
Volume 23 - Article 20

» World Urbanization Prospects: an alternative to the UN model of projection compatible with the mobility transition theory
Volume 12 - Article 9

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Uninsured migrants: Health insurance coverage and access to care among Mexican return migrants
Volume 38 - Article 17    | Keywords: migration

» Shocks and migration in Malawi
Volume 38 - Article 14    | Keywords: migration

» Historical reproductive patterns in developed countries: Aggregate-level perspective
Volume 38 - Article 2    | Keywords: demographic transition

» Aging, and separation from children: The health implications of adult migration for elderly parents in rural China
Volume 37 - Article 55    | Keywords: migration

» Decomposing American immobility: Compositional and rate components of interstate, intrastate, and intracounty migration and mobility decline
Volume 37 - Article 47    | Keywords: migration