Behind Covid by a country mile, the big story of recent years has been the housing crisis. This is not just a New Zealand issue but one dominating politics and the news worldwide and it surprises me why commentators cannot see the underlining connection with another recent years historically significant event.
That is the flight to big cities. For the first time in human history, more than 50% of the world’s population now live in cities. Demographers pick the figure will reach 75% within 30 years.
There are a host of reasons for this; in the developed economies, tracing back to rising education standards and city life stimulation. But it’s also true of third world nations with low education standards, in their cases driven by the pursuit of employment. Thus most African cities have huge fringe location slums filled with rural refugees.
The single exception is China which in the interest of avoiding city slums, rigorously controls such movements.
Only a very dull twenty year old would opt to stay in Oamaru, Dannevirke or Huntly given the choice of the big smoke with its city buzz.
And now that we’re approaching 50% of kids experiencing university education and spending three or more years in a city, even if pursuing an orthodox career such as medicine, law or accounting, they’re certainly not going back to Hawera, Greymouth or Masterton once qualified.
Nowadays, putting aside the numerous nonsense subjects of Fat Women Studies, Air Hostessing, Maori Wonderfulness and the like corrupting universities, the rich variety of topics nearly all demand a city presence to pursue a career in them.
Add that to the recent years phenomenon of retirees opting for the big cities for their stimulation and it all adds to ever growing city populations; ergo, a continuous housing problem as major city populations continue to soar, leaving in their wake semi-ghost towns filled with folk without earning ability to cope. The only redeeming feature is it offers city fat girls desperate for a husband, a solution. Shift to Patea or Oamaru and the like and they’re snapped up by desperate farmers with no other options, their own town’s pretty girls having long departed.