With Reference to Case Study Material, Outline the Way in Which Population Change and Migration Can Affect the Character of, and Service Provision in, Rural and Urban Areas (15 Marks)

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Q6:With reference to case study material, outline the way in which population change and migration can affect the character of, and service provision in, rural and urban areas (15 marks)

Rural and urban areas in Northern Ireland have been impacted in different ways by population change and migration. Contrasts are evident between the area of rural settlement known as ‘Mourne Country’ (including the village of Hilltown) and the area of rural-urban fringe known as ‘Mid-Down’ (including the village of Hillsborough). The contrasts are interesting because population and service provision are falling in remote rural areas but growing in areas of rural-urban fringe.

Hilltown is in a local area of out-migration because it is in a relatively remote area of NI (rural / upland / far from large cities; N.B. there are some commuters to Newry and Banbridge). Local wages are low (10% below national average), and industry is dominated by the primary and secondary sectors. Also, young couples have left the area because they have been ‘priced out’ of the housing market by affluent ‘outsiders’ buying holiday homes in the picturesque landscape. In response to this loss of population, there is some resentment between locals and holiday homeowners, and a decline in service provision. Negative changes include the downgrading of the post office to a post box, and the diversion of pension services to banks. Traditional village stores have been amalgamated into single chain convenience stores, and demographic ageing has resulted in low primary school numbers. Small schools are forced to ‘share’ teachers. With increasing car ownership, many bus routes have been cancelled, further isolating socially deprived members of the community. Some positive changes have occurred in that mobile library vans offer an internet service and chemists have diversified to include some simple medical / dental procedures.

Decline in Hilltown has had several consequences for the area’s character....
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