Twentieth Century Urbanization in Bangladesh and a Spell of High and Unsustainable Urban Growth

Document Type: Original Paper

Author

Ph.D. (Newcastle upon Tyne) Associate Professor of Economics, Department of Humanities, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka 1000.

Abstract

Bangladesh is still a low urbanized country although it experienced a rising trend in the level of urbanization throughout the twentieth century and had a remarkably high urban growth immediately after its independence in 1971. The country recorded the highest ever annual average growth rate (9.04) and percentage of interval variation (137.57%) in an urban population in 1974; thereafter, growth rates of these two parameters went on falling and reached 5.19 and 65.89% respectively in 1991. As a result, urbanization during the tail end of the twentieth century increased but at a decreasing rate leading to an unsustainable urban growth trend. This study, however, examines the factors that contributed to urbanizing Bangladesh during the unsustainable growth period particularly in the last decades of the twentieth century. To this end, a multivariate regression model is developed and analyzed using the ordinary least square method involving stepwise-regression procedure. Primarily ten potential factors are taken into consideration and seven of them emerged as significant in explaining the process of urbanization in Bangladesh. Of these seven factors, the level of industrialization appears as the most influential factor with a coefficient of 1.34, which is followed by the share of urban area, initial level of urbanization and migration with coefficients of 1.13, 0.86 and 0.49 respectively; while the econometric model came up with an adjusted R2 of 0.95 and the Durbin-Watson Statistic of 1.98. Results of this study provide with better understanding towards guiding the urbanization process, particularly in the developing countries.

Keywords


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