Projecting internal migration and population change from scenarios of economic growth: a case study for the Alto Paraopeba Valley, Brazil

Reinaldo Santos, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG)
Alisson F. Barbieri, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG)

This paper discusses the impacts and consequences on demographic dynamics of big development projects on demographic dynamics in small regions. We use as case study the Alto Paraopeba Valley in Brazil, a region which will face structural changes in the following decades due to investments in mining, metallurgic and steel industry. Projected high employment generation will deeply affect the demographic dynamics in the region, particularly through high in-migration rates, and will change urban and regional development patterns by imposing further pressures on the already fragile infrastructure (e.g., water supply, sanitation, transportation system and housing) and social services (health, education). We propose a methodology to forecast population growth at the region al and municipal levels which is sensible to incorporate employment scenarios. We then discuss how these results will imply a restructuring of the territory and challenges for regional planning. Furthermore, given the proximity of the study region to the Metropolitan Area of Belo Horizonte (MA), we will show how the expansion of the last in direction to the study region, and the expansion of study region in direction to the MA, will increase mobility of people, goods and services and may create a process of conurbation between the two regions. Finally and based on our study region, we will address the need of better addressing the temporal and spatial scales involved in the relationship between population and planning and development in developing countries: the scale and speed of economic investments has usually bypassed the scale and speed of these social investments. In this sense, adequate regional planning and policymaking, informed by adequate technical knowledge may help bridge the gap, although this is not usually the case in many developing countries or regions.

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Presented in Poster Session 3

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