1.3 Variations in population distribution and economic development at the national scale, including voluntary internal migration, core-periphery patterns, and megacity growth

Uneven population density (extreme cases)
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Uneven population density between local regions in countries further creates a national economic imbalance.

Some extreme cases:
99% of Egypt lives in the Nile valley (4% total land area).
More than 30% of the UK's population are in the southeast of England living at a density level of more than 300 persons per square kilometre.
Just 4 million people inhabit Scotland, despite its much larger area.
National-scale core regions - favoured areas that build on their natural advantage through time:

Centripetal force draws in ambitious migrants, investors and resources from other regions.
This virtuous circle of spiralling growth was called cumulative causation
Result: the development of national core-periphery systems that keep strengthening over time on account of positive feedback effects

Sometimes, this process of core-periphery polarization can be seen operating at larger spatial scales than the state level.
Within the European Union (EU), free movement of labour has helped an international core-periphery pattern to develop
The EU core region encompasses southern England, northern France, Belgium and much of western Germany. It includes the world cities of London, Paris, Brussels and Frankfurt.
Labour migration flows from eastern and southern Europe are directed overwhelmingly towards these places
Megacity: 10 million people or more
In 1970 there were just 3; by 2020 there will be 30.
Grow through a combination of rural-urban migration and natural population increase

Megacity growth can give rise to marked disparities in a nation's distributed population:
Almost ⅓ of Japan's 128 million people live in Tokyo and its surrounding metropolitan area.
⅙ of Mexico's 120 million people live in Mexico City and its surrounding metropolitan area.

Megacities in LICs and MICs/EEs have grown especially rapidly
São Paulo gains half a million new residents annually from migration.
New growth takes place at the fringes of the city where informal (shanty) housing is built by the incomers.
Centripetal migration brings people to municipal dumps (Lagos), floodplains (São Paulo), cemeteries (Cairo) and steep, dangerous hill slopes (Rio).
Over time, informal housing areas may consolidate as expensive and desirable districts. Rio's now-electrified shantytown Rocinha boasts a McDonald's, hair salons and health clinics.

International migration continues to bring population growth
Ex: eastern Europeans moving to greater London, or Mexicans to Los Angeles

There is residual internal migration taking place in developed countries too
Ex: rural heartlands of the USA to New York.
South Africa:
Core economic regions, have population densities of over 1,000 people/ km^2
Areas with good mineral resources, such as gold and diamonds, good farming potential, and good trading potential (ex: Durban and Cape Town)

Large areas of the Northern Cape Province have densities of less than 5/km^2.
Population decreases from the south-east to the north-west, reflecting the distribution of rainfall in South Africa (most arid areas).

Internal migration:
Three main periods during the 20th and 21st century:
1. Economic migration linked with industrial development until 1950: Many black people moved from the countryside to cities to work as migrant labourers in the gold and diamond mines.
2. Forced migration related to the apartheid movement: Under the apartheid policy, over 4 million black people were forcibly removed from "white" areas and relocated to "homelands" and were restricted from entering "white" towns.
3. Voluntary migration following the collapse of the apartheid system: Since the end of the apartheid era, many blacks have migrated from the former homeland areas to large cities, in search of work, with a 65% increase in South African urban population. However, poverty from limited job prospects forces many to live in substandard housing on the edge of towns.

Circular migration:
When a worker moves repeatedly between home and host areas
Common, due to the high cost of living (need to supplement income)
Within the former homelands, 4 million people practise subsistence farming
Represents a sense of security, identity, history and preference for retirement.
Population Distribution:
11% of the population (115 million people) live on just 0.5% of the land (47,000km^2).

Concentrated in the east: capital economic zone for commerce and trade hubs
Coastal zones (Beijing, Tianjin)
Lower reaches of river valleys (the Pearl River Delta (Hong Kong and Guangzhou, Yangtze River Delta region centred around Shanghai)
Maximum in Jiangsu - many of the world's leading exporters of electronic equipment, China's largest recipient of foreign investment

Falls towards the west - parts of the interior are in extreme environments.
Deserts (e.g Gobi Desert)
Gobi desert - vast, sparsely populated, overlaps part of northern China.
Steep slopes of the Himalayas
Tibetan plateau - high-altitude region covering 2.5 million square kilometers, temperatures fall as low as -40°C in the winter
Dry grasslands of the north-west.

Uneven population distribution results primarily from physical geography
Small proportion of the country is able to provide for rain-fed agriculture
Result of China's economic growth has been to reinforce these inequalities
Urbanization process is creating mega-regions
These regions with megacities and millionaire cities are concentrated towards the east of the country, reinforcing the core-periphery inequality of the east (core) and west (periphery).

Internal migration:
Since 1978, China has experienced the world's largest internal population movement
160 million migrants have left rural areas to seek work in coastal urban areas for higher wages
Good for the Chinese economy, generally beneficial to the migrants, but at a personal and an environmental cost
Land and labour costs are rising
The Chinese government has attempted to direct recent industrial development, and the destination of internal migrants, to interior locations

Special Economic Zones (SEZs):
The government of China gives SEZS special (more free market-oriented) economic policies and flexible governmental measures
This allows SEZs to utilize an economic management system that is more attractive for foreign and domestic firms to do business in than the rest of mainland China.