Table of contents:
2. Literature review
3. Similarities and dissimilarities
5. Works cited
The last couple of decades is characterized by the dramatic changes in the life of American society and these changes affect practically all parts of the US. At the same time, the social and economic changes are closely intertwined with the changes in the geographical domain. To put it more precisely, the shift in economic trends can stimulate the migration of the population from poorer regions to richer ones, while the growing pauperization of the population may lead to the deterioration of the environmental problems and extensive exploitation of the natural resources.
Anyway, both geographic and economic changes inevitably affect the life of people and the present epoch, starting from the late 20th century, is characterized by the growing influence of the mutual impact of human activities and their environment. In this respect, it is worth mentioning the fact that, as a rule, it is a man that is the initiator of changes since the change in socioeconomic sphere forces human to change their traditional lifestyle that, in its turn, inevitably leads to the change of geography and environment of humans.
Basically, the current trends are quite disturbing and many specialists point out that socioeconomic changes that take place in the contemporary American society are closely interrelated with the geographic changes (Population Estimates, 2007). In this respect, it should be said that specialists explain this trend that became particularly strong in the late 20th century by the increasing role of people in the contemporary world and their growing impact on the environment (Population Estimates, 2007). In other words, the impact of human activities on the environment increases, while the changes that took place within society contribute consistently to the change of the environment as well as the society itself and these changes are not always possible. Moreover, some of them are really disturbing and, in this regard, specialists (Data and Demographics, 2005) indicate to one of the main problems of the contemporary American society, this is the problem of the aging of the American nation. In fact, this is the common problem that affects practically all developed countries and, in actuality, the situation in the USA is not the worst compared to European countries, for instance. Nevertheless, the gradual and steady increase of the old population leads to the aging of the entire nation and decreases its reproductive ability. In practice, this means that the nation is gradually dies out and, potentially, if the current trend remains unchanged, the American nation in its present form can disappear at all, or, that is more likely, it will be changed consistently due to the growth of the non-native population. At this point, it should be said that specialists indicate to the growing share of immigrant population, basically from Latin America, which make an important contribution in the growth of the population in the US (Data and Demographics, 2005). Moreover, the birth rates among non-white Americans, for instance, is higher compared to white Americans that means that the share of white population in the US will decrease, while non-white, mainly Latin Americans and African Americans will grow (Data and Demographics, 2005).
Naturally, on the geographical level this means a considerable demographic change, but along with the change of the ethnic groups of the American society, it is possible to speak about the considerable migration in the USA. In this respect, the growth of the number of immigrants contributes to the growth of the population of Southern states mainly, while Northern states are less affected by this trend.
At the same time, it is possible to speak a profound economic impact caused by the current trends, such as the aging of the nation and migration. In this respect, it should be said that the growth of the old population increases pressure on the working part of the population since, from the economic point of view, it is the working part of the population that makes the major contribution in the national wealth, while the old population, i.e. retired people, cease working and, therefore, do not contribute to the formation of the national wealth, but they consume it.
In addition, it should be said that the aging of the nation deteriorates the general situation in the national economy because the existing labor force cannot fully satisfy the needs of the growing economy. In this respect, it is worth mentioning the fact that in the late1980s ”“ 1990s and at the present moment, the demand for high qualified personnel is extremely high. This means that the US economy needs a constant flow of young people who have higher education and are able to work in high tech industries. However, the aging of the nation leads to the decrease of the share of young people, while in geographical terms, this process undermines the normal reproduction ability of the nation. As a result, the number of young people steadily declines, while the need in new highly professional employees increases.
On the other hand, the current growth of the young population basically occurs due to immigrants and representatives of the lower classes of American society, especially due to African Americans and Latin Americans, whose socioeconomic status is traditionally low. In actuality, this means that they can hardly afford higher education that means that the number of educated young people, which may be particularly perspective to high tech industries due to their innovative ideas, decreases. And this is not only the problem of the demography but it is also the problem of economy because it is poor socioeconomic conditions that prevent a large number of young but poor people from receiving higher education.
As a result, the consistent changes in geography take place. To put it more precisely, the migration in the US is basically characterized by the ongoing growth of the urban population (Data and Demographics, 2005). At the same time, it is important to underline that this trend has been strong since the second half of the 20th century, but the specific characteristic of this trend in the late 20th century is the fact that the population within urban areas is redistributed disproportionally (Majors, 2006). What is meant here is the fact that the inner city and poverty stricken neighborhood grow substantially. These areas become more and more densely populated, while areas where representatives of the middle and upper classes reside become more and more exclusive (Majors, 2006). In such a way, the balance in the society tends to be changed and the growing gap between rich and poor may lead to social conflicts.
Similarities and dissimilarities
Basically, the trends that could be observed in the US and, which many specialists discuss in their works, are common for the entire country and Pittsburgh CMA, Indiana County and Fayette County are not exceptions in this regard. On analyzing the current situation in Pittsburg CMA, Indiana County and Fayette County, it should be said that the major trends that are typical for the US may be observed in these regions too.
First of all, it should be said that the share of the old population in Pittsburgh CMA, Indiana and Fayette Counties constitutes a considerable part of the general population of the regions. At the same time, the average age of the local population is even higher compared to the average population in the US and reaches almost 41 in Fayette County compared to 36,4 at average in the US. In such a way, it is possible to estimate that the problem of aging is even more serious in this county compared to the rest of the US.
In actuality, this means that the share of the old population in Pittsburgh CMA, Indiana County and Fayette County grows steadily, while the share of younger population is apparently insufficient for the improvement of the demographic situation and further effective economic development. In this respect, it is worth mentioning the fact that the level of unemployment in Pittsburgh CMA, Indiana County and Fayette County is higher compared to the US that may be determined by effects of the aging of the local population, which have been just identified above. To put it more precisely, the aging of the population leads to the decrease of the number of young people, while the highest birth rates are mainly observed in low-income families, which cannot afford the higher education for their children.
As a result, young people living in Pittsburgh CMA, Indiana County and Fayette County, having a poor socioeconomic background cannot receive higher education and, therefore, get better job opportunities. Moreover, they cannot even find a job because due to technological progress the demand for high qualified labor force outweighs the demand for low qualified labor force. Therefore, it is quite natural that the main part of the population in these regions is employed in management, services and sales fields.
In this respect, it is quite noteworthy that the unemployment rate in Indiana County is the lowest and close to an average unemployment rate in the US and, at the same time, Indiana county has the lowest share of African American population, which, as it has been already mentioned above, is one of the major racial groups that contributes to the growth of the population. Such a racial structure of the local population distinguishes the county from the rest of the US. In contrast, Pittsburgh CMA and Fayette County has consistently higher unemployment rates as well as the share of African American population compared to Indiana County.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the current socioeconomic trends produce a profound impact on geography as well as migration of the population and its structure. As a result, it is possible to estimate that the current trends to the aging of the population and growing gap between rich and poor, low access to higher education and the lack of well-qualified professionals are common trends for Pittsburgh CMA, Indiana County, Fayette County as well as for the US at large.