Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Urbanization of the Amazon

The New York Times reports that urban spaces are rapidly encroaching on the heart of the Amazon jungle:

Of the 19 Brazilian cities that the latest census indicates have doubled in population over the past decade, 10 are in the Amazon. Altogether, the region’s population climbed 23 percent from 2000 to 2010, while Brazil as a whole grew just 12 percent.

Various factors are fueling this growth, among them larger family sizes and the Amazon’s high levels of poverty in comparison with other regions that draw people to the cities for work. While Brazil’s birthrate has fallen to 1.86 children per woman, one of the lowest in Latin America, the Amazon has Brazil’s highest rate, at 2.42.

It also appears that Brazilian property law has played a role in the luring migrants to the jungle. The country encourages settlement by granting legal title to squatters who occupy land in the Amazon region.

Steve Clowney

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