The state of world population 1986.
Within the next 50 years, the predominantly rural character of developing countries will shift as a result of rapid world urbanization. In 1970 the total urban population of the more developed world regions was almost 30 million more than in the less developed regions; however, by the year 2000 the urban population of developing countries will be close to double that in developed countries. A growing proportion of the urban population will be concentrated in the biggest cities. At the same time, the rural population in developing countries is expected to increase as well, making it difficult to reduce the flow of migrants to urban centers. Although urban fertility in developing countries tends to be lower than rural fertility, it is still at least twice as high as in developed countries. The benefits of urbanization tend to be distributed unevenly on the basis of social class, resulting in a pattern of skewed income and standard of living. Social conditions in squatter settlments and urban slums are a threat to physical and mental health, and the educational system has not been able to keep up with the growth of the school-aged population in urban areas. The problems posed by urbanization should be viewed as challenges to social structures and scientific technologies to adapt with concern for human values. It is suggested than 4 premises about the urbanization process should guide urban planners: 1) urban life is essential to the social nature of the modern world; 2) urban and rural populations should not be conceptualized in terms of diametrically opposed interest groups; 3) national policies will have an impact on urban areas, just as developments in the cities will impact on national development; and 4) the great cities of the world interact with each other, exchanging both trade and populations. The United Nations Family Planning Association stresses the need for 3 fundamental objectives: economic efficiency, social equity, and population balance.