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Urbanisation, development, and environmental quality: insights from coastal Ghana

Michael J. White, Brown University
Scott Nixon, University of Rhode Island

Urbanization and migration are repeatedly implicated in environmental change. Their impact is often represented as strongly negative. Our objective is to examine the connection, with special attention to the case of Ghana. The paper first characterizes the issue, drawing on a current comparison of a low and high income setting. We then present preliminary results for nutrient levels in several coastal lagoons, examining the degree to which these impacts are linked to nearby human settlement. The paper then turns to demographic behaviour at the level of the individual and the household. We use primary survey data collected from a stratified, clustered random sample of households in six coastal districts of the Central Region of Ghana. Employing standard regression methods, we use these data to present evidence about urbanization, fertility, behaviour, health, and environmental attitudes. The paper concludes with a policy-oriented discussion of the relationship between population, environment and economic development.

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Presented in Session 137: Urbanisation, environment and development