In developed countries, both the birth and death rates are low. Moreover, the proportion of younger people in the population is relatively small whereas there is an ever-increasing proportion of an older person (senior citizens) in the population.
For example, in Germany, Italy, UK and Belgium, about 20 per cent of their population is over 65 years of age. These elderly people largely remain dependent on the working population.
2. Small Workforce:
As the standard of education improves, children remain longer in school and join the workforce late. This, combined with low birth rate, means that the labour force expands only slowly while industrial and other employment opportunities continue to multiply. Despite a high degree of mechanization in industries many countries have shortage of workers.
In Europe, for example, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Russia do not have enough workers.
Another problem is that workforce is generally well-educated and skilled and there is a serious shortage of unskilled workers. Because the majority of workers are skilled and the workforce is relatively small, wages of unskilled workers are very high.
For example, a coal miner in UK and Germany gets as high a salary as that of a university professor. Moreover, the coal miners in UK have to work only three days or 24 hours per week.
3. Rural Population:
There are more social amenities like universities, colleges, hospitals, banks and places of recreation in urban areas. For this reason, the rural youth out migrate from their villages and start their career in towns and cities. The fewer, especially the old people, live in villages.
The agricultural sector suffers adversely because of the non-availability of workforce. The rural areas get depopulated and consequently, less’ social amenities are provided in the countryside. The standard of living of the villages also suffers a decline.
As a town expands, the pressure on transport, water supplies, sewage and refuse disposal grows and creates problems. Smoke and chemical effluents from factories produce air and water pollution. Traffic congestion and noise are other problems.
Stress created by urban life leads to a far higher incidence of mental illness, depression, high blood pressure, obesity, heart troubles, breathing problems and madness.
Urban sprawl and slums expansion in some of the developed countries, e.g., USA, are other major issues which create many social and environmental problems.
The highly productive agricultural land is encroached upon for constructing houses, roads and industries, resulting in decline in arable land.
Thus, both developing and developed countries have many problems in common. Most of the developed countries have areas where agriculture or industry could be developed or where the population is too large and dense. Similarly, the developing countries have large towns where the problems are similar to those of urbanized societies everywhere. Here, it is also pertinent to mention the differences between developed/developing and underdeveloped countries.
Some have a much better resource base or a smaller population, such as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Malaysia.
They are much more likely to be able to overcome their problems than those with weak resource base and a large population with rigid traditional ideas and orthodoxy, e.g., Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Niger, Nigeria, Mexico, Bangladesh and Pakistan.