A significant part of your study of GCSE geography is concerned with human geography. This deals with different aspects of our impact on the planet from economic to environmental. This quiz deals with a little of both as we look at the changes in rural areas caused by a number of push and pull factors.
The nature of changes to rural areas is different for LEDCs to MEDCs and affects both people and the environment. There are similarities between the two, for example rural depopulation, but there are even more differences. In both cases, the ultimate solution is to manage sustainable rural change. For the exam, you will be expected to know some of the key positive and negative changes that occur and some of the solutions.
In LEDCs, the bulk of the population is still rural and the poorest of these countries generally have the largest rural populations.
It is the rural populations that have the least money, so people will migrate from the countryside to urban areas to earn better wages (that's a push factor) and to obtain better jobs (a pull factor). The positive side is that the migrant workers send money home which increases the cash in the local economy. The negative side is that it is generally the young males who migrate, so the remaining children will often not have the time for schooling as they are needed to work the land and there will be less 'muscle' to carry out the heavier tasks. This can trigger a cycle of decline as less food is produced.
The land is used to provide food to feed both the rural and urban population as LEDCs import less food than MEDCs meaning that changes in their rural areas have a greater significance than in MEDCs. The change from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture in LEDCs has a positive economic effect but negative environmental effects such as pressure on water supplies and eutrophication of water courses due to overuse of fertilisers. With less land to grow their own food, the poorest families suffer and will tend to migrate to urban centres.
Many rural areas in both LEDCs and MEDCs attract tourists. This can benefit the local population, however, that is not always the case as the money spent by tourists is not always put back into the local economy to improve conditions and infrastructure. This is more critical in LEDCs as the areas are deprived to begin with.