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The function of keeping population in rural areas under the progress of urbanization

The function of keeping population in rural areas under the progress of urbanization

Bulletin of the Faculty of School Education Hiroshima University Part II 8: 89-102

During the period of rapid economic growth (1960's) in Japan, the rural population decreased considerably. Nowadays, the rural to urban migration is said to be down, but before reaching this situation, what incentives existed to keep population in rural area? This study aims to clarify the reason why the rural population still exits, and in particular emphasis is laid on the activtiy of farmers who form the fundamental population in rural areas. The rural population, though its number is very small in comparison to that of cities, is considered to be maintained through such functions as follows. 1. The existence of natural resources 2. the enlargement of the living space of city dwellers (or the emergence of 'urban field') 3. the consistency of agriculture 4. the increase of the phenomenon of counteraction (that is, dispersion) against the agglomeration 5. the development of exchange system economically among regions owing to the advancement of transportation. In these functions, the author wishes to draw attention to agriculture further, because, among all industries, the expansion of agriculture is most widely practiced on the surface of the earth, and it is still very important industry in rural areas. The positive agriculture which is really thought to maintain the rural farm population is seen not only in the suburban area of city but also in places remote from it. But the rate of positive farmers to the total is raised according to the distance from the city or in the distant region from the core region of Japan. This reason is to be considered that in these areas the opportunity of employment outside the agriculture becomes very few, so the people who want to remain in these places must live through concentrating on the agriculture or other few industries. Although the degree of positiveness of farming is considerable in such remote places, the number of positive farm population depends on the extent of the intensity and area of land in agriculture. Therefore, we cannot say that remote places have a more positive farm population than that of suburban districts. After all, the rural farm population will continue to exist widely on the land through the commercialization of their agriculture.

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