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Type: Journal article
Title: Migration and urbanisation in West Africa and the Western Pacific: reflections on a legacy, 1960-2010
Author: Bedford, R.
Hugo, G.
Didham, R.
Citation: New Zealand Population Review, 2011; 37:15-44
Publisher: Population Association of New Zealand
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 1179-8149
Statement of
Richard Bedford, Graeme Hugo, Robert Didham
Abstract: (David) Ian Pool’s research career began in New Zealand but took off in west Africa in the 1960s. His research on population dynamics in New Zealand, and most recently his major contributions to demographic theory about age structural transitions (ASTs), are frequently cited in the contemporary literature. Less frequently mentioned is his extensive research on fertility and family formation in west Africa – research which has recently been recalled in writing about population change during the colonial era. This paper picks up a theme that Pool touched on in his 1960s research – migration and urbanisation - in a brief review of urbanisation in west Africa and the western Pacific (Melanesia) between 1960 and 2010. In the 1960s west Africa was considered to be one of the least urbanised regions in the world. Fifty years later, Melanesia qualifies for this (dubious) distinction and a major question challenging politicians and planners, especially in western Melanesia (Papua New Guinea, Solomons and Vanuatu), is whether their burgeoning youthful populations will find their livelihoods in rural areas or increasingly in towns. West Africa and the western Pacific are vastly different regions in many ways, not least in the scale of their populations and land resources. But there are also some similarities in their demographies, and recalling aspects of Pool’s African research in the 1960s and 1970s provides an opportunity to engage in a bit of lateral thinking about the relevance of the experience of urbanisation in west Africa between 1960 and 2010 for Melanesia’s demographic development in the early 21st century.
Rights: Copyright © 2011 Population Association of New Zealand
RMID: 0030000243
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Appears in Collections:Geography, Environment and Population publications

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