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Diverse Places

Miami, Florida, USA is the most diverse city in the world. 58.3% of its 468,000 residents were born in a country other than the United States. But, what factors influence diverse places?

Let's start by defining the words 'place' and 'diversity'.

Places are areas and locations. They are part of a geographical space but are not necessarily within a geographical boundary. Places are dynamic and constantly changing. They are shaped by internal connections (people, employment, and services) and external connections (government and globalisation).

Diversity is the variation within a population, in their characteristics, background, and behaviour.

Each place is created by a blend of unique internal and external factors. People add to the diversity of a place: there are not only cultural differences, but also in the perception of a place, how they engage with it, and how they form attachments to it.

With that in mind, diverse places are variations in an area or location. To understand this, we need to look at the factors that make a diverse place.

Examining diverse places using population structure

A population structure is the composition and characteristics (such as age and gender) of a given location, which can be represented in a population pyramid. It is one of the measures that can demonstrate the diversity of a place and how it varies over time.

To understand this concept, let's have a look at the UK's population structure. Since the first census in 1801, the UK's population has increased sixfold to reach an estimated 67.22 million in 2020. The main driver for this growth has been migration.

The population in the UK is unevenly distributed and has grown at different rates depending on location. Urban places are more densely populated than rural places. They have a younger, more ethnically diverse population, and a higher proportion of young adults (20 to 40 years old).

The population density in rural areas has increased in traditional villages (especially with people over 65), and in those rural settlements that have become commuter belts. The population density of a given location is the number of people per unit area (usually per square kilometre). Suburban, rural-urban fringes, and accessible rural areas have also seen population growth. Regionally, there has been strong growth in the South, some growth in the Midlands, and minimal growth in the North. There is also evidence to suggest that population growth and economic prosperity go together.

Factors that influence population trends

There are numerous accessibility, physical, and historical factors that contribute to the trends we can see in the UK's population density and structure. Let's look at some of them:

  • Physical environment: flat areas are more easily built on.
  • Socio-economic status: generally, the more wealthy members of an urban society live in the most expensive housing, in areas of low housing and population density, away from atmospheric and visual pollution.
  • Dwelling type and household size: a large number of blocks of flats will generate a higher population density than an estate of detached houses.
  • Functions: population density reduces when it is mixed with other, nonresidential activities.
  • Planning: green belts and planning consent will define how many units can be built per hectare.
  • Demographic changes: they have been caused by an increase in prosperity that has led to a fall in birth rates. Improvements in health care and successful treatments have led to a fall in mortality.
  • Immigration: immigrants tend to be of working age, which increases the government's tax revenue. In the longer term, migrants tend to marry and have children which increases the birth and fertility rates.

Government actions have also fostered or suppressed diversity both historically and even today:

  • The Windrush generation: after a government-sponsored job advertisement was distributed overseas, a large number of Afro-Caribbean migrants came to the UK to work. However, it has recently come to light that both they and their children were not offered UK citizenship.
  • Brexit: this has caused unease among EU citizens who are living and working in the UK. Many have now returned home.

Diverse Places Map of population aging in the UK StudySmarterThe proportion of the UK population aged 65 years and over in 2016 and 2039, www.ons.gov.co

How past and present connections shape the diversity of places

How past and present connections have shaped various places can be summarized in terms of globalisation and immigration, which have led to demographic and cultural changes. Globalisation has driven traditional communities apart, while immigration has changed the character of places.

Let's take a closer look:

immigration

  • The British government promoted large-scale immigration from the British colonies from the 1940s to the 1960s.
  • Immigration changed the character of the regions that advertised the job vacancies (35% of Dewsbury town now consists of Pakistani Muslims).
  • The traditional way of life has changed. Mosques and sharia courts can now be found in some regions of the UK.
  • Once established in the UK, a migrant can apply for family members from their home country to come and join them. These migrants formed the majority of non-UK-based-born residents in 2014.

Globalisation

  • During the 1990s, the UK was known as 'cool Britannia'. The UK was an attractive place to live in due to its global link to many companies (work) and its global culture (varied and liberal lifestyle).
  • Due to the demand for specific skills, many companies encourage immigrants from overseas to move to the UK.
  • After 1992, the Maastricht Agreement allowed the free movement of workers between EC states. When the EU expanded in 2004 there was an influx of workers to the UK. Since 2004, for example, over 6000,000 poles have arrived in the UK.

Other influences on the diversity of places

Influences on a place can be broken down into:

Global

  • The presence of international brands like Facebook or McDonald's. This leads to clone high streets. That is, high streets that are dominated by chain stores, which makes them indistinct from other high streets around Europe.
  • Tourism: certain locations attract millions of tourists, which means a surge in hotels, jobs, and supporting infrastructure.

National

  • Specific government policies and offices.
  • Accessibility to the place: airports, trains, road links, and ports.

Regional

  • Major cities nearby and the influence this has on topics like work, shopping, or employment.
  • The government offers aid packages to encourage companies to invest regionally. These include Enterprise Zones, where incentives are focused on a particular area. For example, the incentives to invest in Cornwall were tax discounts (up to £ 160,000 for five years), no need for building permissions, and county-wide superfast broadband.

Local

  • The political inclinations of local councils.
  • The sense of community that there might be in a place.
  • The efforts to increase cultural understanding.

The perception of diverse places

The perceptions of urban and rural spaces have changed over time. They also vary based on the groups of people and their lived experiences. People's lived experiences, which is their memory and feelings of living in a certain place, can also influence their own image and identity.

Many of the UK's largest cities were born during the Industrial Revolution. Their growth fueled a massive movement of people from rural areas to urban ones. People had the perception that the good life was to be found in urban rather than rural places.

Urban reality

What is the reality behind urban living? Let's see some examples.

Higher living costs

Wages are generally better in urban places. However, we need to take into account the costs of accommodation (which is sometimes of poor quality), commuting, and food.

Low environmental quality

Living in an urban location generally means atmospheric pollution, constant noise, sharp lights, and anti-social behaviors (street drinking, begging, or rowdy neighbours).

Crime

Evidence shows that the average crime rate in rural areas is significantly lower than in urban areas.

Diverse Places Urban and rural crime StudySmarterCrime in urban and rural areas, England & Wales 2020/21. Source: ONS (OGL)

Rural reality

Rural places tend to be divided into two groups:

  • Those that lie within commuting reach of towns and cities.
  • Those that lie beyond that reach, but are accessible for recreation, leisure, and retirement.

Currently, more people in the UK are moving to rural areas pursuing their idea of the so-called 'rural myth' or rural idyll. According to it, rural places are problem-free, peaceful, healthy, and friendly.

Diverse places Rural area StudySmarterRural living is seen as desirable. Source: pixabay

What is the reality of rural living? People in rural areas often have to travel further to access services and facilities that urban dwellers take for granted. This is known as the rural desert. It means the nearest doctor, shop, or post office could be many miles away. Rural services are more vulnerable to public finance constraints since their delivery is more expensive than in urban areas. For example, a local bus service has greater distances to travel, therefore its services can be withdrawn or reduced.

Other issues include:

  • Transport: Services in a rural area are highly dependent on a form of transport.
  • Housing: Narrow staircase and latched door may seem attractive to the young, but are they practical for the elderly? Will the garden and upkeep of the home be manageable? Also, the heating costs are high as many rural homes rely on solid fuel or oil.
  • Technology: As more services become available online the ability to access these via the internet is increasingly important. Although steps are being taken to improve broadband services in rural areas, there is still a very long way to go in comparison to what's available in an urban location.

Demographic and cultural tension between diverse places

The north-south divide is a term used to describe the disparities between London and the south-east of England and the rest of the UK in social, economic, and cultural terms.

Since the 1930s, migration within the UK has contributed to this divide. People living in the southeast have a better life expectancy, higher income, and better standards of living than those who live in the north. Two well-defined differences between these areas are that house prices in the southeast are higher due to high demand, and the rates of unemployment are higher in the north as some regions suffer de-industrialization.

The main cause of the north-south divide is de-industrialization. Manufacturing industries that were traditionally located in the north began to close and the economy declined. At the same time, the south-east became increasingly prosperous in response to the growth of the financial and service sector, and the dominance of London. As a result, people migrated south looking for work.

The UK government and the EU attempted to reduce the north-south divide by investing in the north. They implemented some such as the Enterprise Zones that we mentioned before.

As a result of these movements within the UK, new tensions surfaced. Tensions in a residential space are often caused by resistance to change. The flow of migrants into an area will begin to change its basic characteristics. This causes tensions between those who are new arrivals and those who class themselves as long-term residents.

Diverse Places - Key takeaways

  • Diversity is the variation within a population, in their characteristics, background, and behaviour.
  • Diverse places are variations in an area or location.
  • The UK's population has increased sixfold to reach an estimated 67.22 million (2020). The main driver for this growth has been migration.
  • Population growth and decline are affected by fertility and mortality, but also by migrations.
  • Demographic changes are caused by an increase in prosperity that has led to a fall in birth rates. Improvements in health care and successful treatments have led to a fall in mortality.
  • Globalisation has driven traditional communities apart.
  • Tension in a residential space is often caused by resistance to change. The flow of migrants into an area will begin to change its basic characteristics.
  • Each place is created by a blend of unique internal and external factors. People add to the diversity of a place.

Frequently Asked Questions about Diverse Places

Miami in Florida, USA is the most diverse city in the world. 58.3% of Miami's 468,000 residents were born in a country other than the United States

A diverse place is the variations in an area or location.

Final Diverse Places Quiz

Question

What has been the main driver in population growth in the UK?

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Migration.

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Which are more densely populated urban or rural places?


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Urban places

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Explain the differences between regional growth in the population of the UK.


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Regionally, there has been a strong growth in the South, some growth in the Midlands, and minimal growth in the North.

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Fill in the missing words

There is also strong evidence to suggest that population …… .. and economic …… ... go together.


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Answer

There is also strong evidence to suggest that population growth and economic prosperity go together.


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Can you name some of the factors that influence population trends?


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Physical environment, social-economic status, dwelling type and house size, functions and planning.


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Can you name a recent government action that has suppressed diversity?


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Answer

Brexit has caused unease among EU citizens who are living and working in the UK. Many have now returned home.

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Can you name the three factors that affect population growth?


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Answer

Fertility, mortality, and migration.

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 What are the causes of demographic changes?


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Demographic changes have been caused by an increase in prosperity that has led to a fall in birth rates. Improvements in health care, and successful treatments have led to a fall in mortality. Also, international migrants are usually younger and build families in their new country. This enhances the demographics pyramid.


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What did the Maastricht Agreement allow?

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The Maastricht Agreement allowed the free movement of workers between EC states

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 Between what years did the British government promote large-scale immigration from the British colonies?


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The 1940s to the 1960s.

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What are the four types of influence on a place?


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Global, national, regional, and local.

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What are some of the realities of urban living?


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Wages are generally better, but the cost of accommodation and travel is greater. There is generally more pollution, noise, and lights. Crime rates are much higher.

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Where do most of the EU migrants to the UK come from?


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Poland. Since 2004, over 6000,000 Poles have arrived in the UK.

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What is the definition of population structure?

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The make-up of different population characteristics.

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Why is population structure important?

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It affects the area in a number of ways.

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What are the 4 main characteristics of population structure?


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Age, Density, Gender, Ethnicity.

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How does density affect population structure?


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Higher density areas are more likely to be urban and get more funding from councils whilst rural areas are the other way around.

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How does age affect population structure?

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Older populations are attracted to rural areas which are less populated, and younger working ages are based in urban areas which are more likely to be densely populated.

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How does gender affect population structure?

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Not a great deal but certain jobs are predominantly based on gender (i.e oil rigs).

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How does ethnicity affect population structure?

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It increases the variety of ethnicities in the area.

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What are the three main factors that affect population structure?

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Birth Rate, Death Rate and Migration.

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How does the birth rate affect population structure?

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It increases the youth population characteristic and the overall population.

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How does the death rate affect population structure?

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It decreases the overall population and any of the population characteristics.

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How does migration affect population structure?

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It can both increase or decrease any of the population characteristics, also increasing or decreasing the overall population.

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What is a rural area?


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An area of low population density, outside of urban areas. Rural areas are more agricultural.

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What is an urban area?

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An area of high population density and more jobs available, usually cities or large towns.

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True or False? Birth rate increases the younger age groups of a population.


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True

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True or False? Migration is one of the key characteristics of population structure.


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False. It is one of the factors affecting population structure.

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True or False? Urban areas typically have a lower population density than rural areas.

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False. They have a high population density and rural areas have a low population density.

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Which of the following is not one of the main factors affecting population structure? Migration, Birth Rate or Age?


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Age as it is a characteristic of population structure.

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How many main factors that affect population structure are there?

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3. Migration, birth rate and death rate.

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What is the best way to measure population structure?

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Census

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Which of the following is a characteristic of population structure? Migration, Gender, Death rate.


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Gender, the other two are factors affecting population structure.

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How many national and regional influences are there?

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Four. Transport and infrastructure, politics, nearby urban areas, regional governance.

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How many international and global influences are there?

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6.  Global tourism opportunities and international airports, twinning, TNCs and global retailers, migration, EU, international trade agreements.

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How many historic influences are there?

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4. Perception and image, influence on identity, historic features, historic ethnic composition.

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How do nearby shopping areas affect an area?

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It can bring in more migrants looking for leisure or a job.

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How do politics affect an area?

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It can affect a lot but impacts to national industries are usually severe changes.

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Is the EU a national, global or historic influence?

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Global.

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Are perception and image a national, global or historical influence?

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Historic.

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Which of the following is not a historical influence? Historic features, influence on identity or migration?


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Migration.

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True or false? Transport and infrastructure are a national and regional influence.


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True.

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True or false? There are five global and international influences.

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False, there are six.

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Which national and regional influence is missing? Nearby urban areas, regional governance, transport and infrastructure.


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Politics.

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Give the name of an international trade agreement that assisted farmers across Europe.

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EU Common Agricultural Policy.

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True or false? Migration affects an area by influencing what projects are built there, by working with councils.

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False, that is regional governance.

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Which is not a global influence? Twinning, migration, EU, politics.

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Politics, as it is a regional and national influence.

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Define twinning.

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An arrangement formed between two areas that cause intercultural understanding.

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Are global retailers and TNCs improving the variety of shops on a high street?

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No, they are decreasing variety, turning high streets into ‘clone high streets’.

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Can perception and image only make a place look better?

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No, it can have a negative impact on how an area is seen.

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