Migration case study: Poles to the UK

I have summarised this case study in 4 short videos.

Introduction to the case study:

Impacts on source region

Impacts on host regions

The future…..

Global Groupings

Global Groupings 

AIM: In this post I want to show you how we can classify countries economically and politically. Then I want to explore how these groupings can change over time as a result of international trade agreements and changes in wealth and power.

Originally it was only Western countries like the UK and  the USA who were fortunate enough to be rich. However, in recent years we have seen that some countries such as Singapore have been lucky enough to join this group. The richest countries where TNCs like to base themselves are in the continents of Europe, North America and Europe. This grouping is known as the triad. Around 80% of all global wealth and trade is concentrated in this triad, which is linked through a complex system of global finance, stock exchanges, international airports and government centres. 

Economic groupings

In geography we tend to measure economic development in countries through their GNI (Gross National Income). In the past the Brandt line was the common way to economically group countries ‘rich North’ and ‘poor South’. However, the world is more complex than this and international trade has changed this making the Brandt line dated. So in the table below, there are some examples of economic groupings.




MEDCs (More economically developed countries)

UK, USA, Canada

Services account for 70%+ jobs. These are high income countries.

NIC (Newly industrialized countries)

China, Brazil, Taiwan

These are service economies with significant manufacturing industry. Primary and Secondary sectors are decreasing.

Recently industrialized countries 

Thailand, Indonesia, Tunisia 

Significant primary industry but in cities manufacturing industry is starting to grow.

LEDCs (Less economically developed countries)

Egypt, Peru, the Philippines island

Primary industry provides 40%+ jobs. These are low income countries where development is slow.

LDC (Less developed countries)

Malawi, Bangladesh, Haiti

Dependent on primary industry. High levels of poverty exist and they are in the low income bracket. They are claimed to be getting poorer in real terms.

Political groupings 

Political groupings are sometimes referred to as inter-government organisations (IGOs) because they consist if countries which have signed some sort of protocol or agreement which is usually to aid economic development. So lets look at some of the groupings in the table below.




Global importance?

European Union (EU)

27 European countries inc. UK

Economic union allowing international trade and population movement.

31% of the world’s GDP

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

30 Democratic and market economies – 25 of which are fully developed.

Monitors economic performance and reduces corruption and bribery. It is like economic maintenance for rich countries.

75% of world’s GDP.

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

12 Major oil exporting countries in the middle east

Aims to safeguard oil exporting countries  and has a large influence on global oil price.

65% global oil reserves

Group of eight (G8)

UK, USA, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia

An informal forum for super-rich and powerful countries

65% of global GDP

Group of twenty developing nations (G20)

21 countries including Brazil, China and India

To press developing nations to open their markets to world trade

20% of global GDP

Group of 77 (G77)

Most African, Asian and Latin American nations

They give a collective voice to developed nations

Influence is decreasing especially after China left.

Trading Blocs…

So what are trading blocs?

These are countries grouped together to improve their economic interests and trade patterns. 

What can they do?

Formal trading blocs such as the European Union (EU), North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA), Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) allow free trade without taxes, tariffs or quotas between member states. If any another nation outside the bloc wishes to trade with them they have to pay a tariff. This helps protect the trading blocs.

So are there any powers stopping these trade blocs?

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is constantly trying to remove trade barriers between trading blocs because free trade is seen to be as something good. So the world is constantly caught between the two forces of trading blocs and the World Trade Organisation.

So how has international trade lead to changes in wealth and power?

    1. There are many organisations such as OECD which support wealthy countries. Therefore, these countries such as the UK has maintained their ‘top slot’ in the world.


  • The ‘Asian Tigers’ NICs have developed to almost the standard of developed countries thanks to the economic injections brought in by international trade.
  • In the last 10 years, BRIC countries have formed which means that there is increased economic strength and power in these once LEDC countries.
  • Asian and Latin American countries, NIC and RIC, have grown in a ‘boom and bust’ fashion due to the fluctuations in international trade.
  • Many African countries have barely benefited, with populating outstripping economic growth, there is income stagnation. 
  • Also, many African countries such as Senegal are left worse of than before because they cannot cope with the cheap prices that Western countries demand. Particularly as they are not exposed to capital goods to help them out. 


So what are the three organisations which aim to help the global economy?

    1. World Trade Organisation (WTO) – They aim to reduce trade barriers and tariffs between various countries and trading blocs in the world.
    2. World Bank –  They promote investment globally and provide loans for countries who agree to certain conditions.
    3. International Monetary Fund (IMF) – This forces countries to privatise government assets. They encourage TNCs to buy these assets and open up international trade. Some say this is why poorer countries have sold of their assets to large TNCs.



Review Questions 

  1. Define triad (2)
  2. Name two economic grouping and give examples of countries involved (4)
  3. What measurement for economic development did geographers used to use? What was wrong with it? (3)
  4. What is the new way geographers measure economic development? (1)
  5. Give two examples of political groupings and explain them? Provide details. (8)
  6. What are trading blocs and give an example (2)
  7. What two organisations are constantly in conflict and why? (3)
  8. Give two ways in which international trade has changed the distribution of global power and wealth? (2)
  9. What is the IMF? (3)
  10. What does ASEAN stand for?(1)


Suggested Answers (There are other answers but this is what I came up with)

  1. Triad is the three continents: North America, Asia and Europe (1) where TNCs like to base themselves (1)
  2. MEDCs (More economically developed countries) (1) e.g. UK, USA, Canada (1). LDC (Less developed countries) (1) e.g. Bangladesh, Malawi, Haiti (1)
  3. The Brandt line (1) which simply split the world into the two hemispheres and state that the North was rich and the South was poor (1) This method is dated because this has changed with the world e.g. Australia and Singapore are in the Southern hemisphere but are rich (1)
  4. GNI (Gross national Income)
  5. EU (European Union) (1) consists of 27 countries (1). It allows free trade and movement of population (1) It provides 31% of the global GDP (1) OECD (Organisation for economic cooperation and development) (1) this consists of 30 democratic and market economies (1) They monitor economic performance and seek to reduce corruption and bribery (1) They produce 75% of the world’s GDP (1)
  6. Trading bloc are groups of countries that seek to develop their economic interests and trade patterns (1) e.g. MERCOSUR (Southern Common Market) (1)
  7. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) (1) and various trading blocs such as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Area) (1). This is because trading blocs encourage free trade between groups of countries not between the whole world whereas the WTO seeks to encourage global free trade (1)
  8. Rich and powerful countries such as the UK have maintained ‘top slots’ in the world thanks to organisations such as the OECD (1) BRIC countries have been given increased power and economic strength thanks to international trade (1)
  9. The International Monetary Fund (1) encourage the privatisation of government assets (1) and they usually encourage TNCs to buy these assets (1)
  10. ASEAN – Association for South East Asian Nations (1)



Social and economic factors affecting population and migration in the UK

Social and economic factors affecting population and migration… (UK)



Population factors

  1. Infant mortality increased
  2. Increased number of women in the workforce
  3. Increased divorce rates
  4. Medical advancements have increased
  5. The acceptance and availability of contraception have increased
  6. Women are having children later
  7. Fashion/Lifestyles have changed
  8. People are more aware of health
  1. Increased and improved education and training
  2. The cost of raising children has increased
  3. The need for children has decreased
  4. There was a depression in the 1930s
  5. A global recession in 2008 (oil crisis)
  6. Better economic incentives elsewhere compared to kids
  7. It is more profitable and economical for women to work rather than have kids.


  1. We have an ageing population.
  2. Our birth rate has decreased
  3. Our death rate has fallen too
  4. Natural increase has fallen too
  5. The replacement level has reduced too

Migration factors

  1. English is claimed to be a universal language
  2. The UK once had a large empire hence it has  many colonial links
  3. There are also many ethic enclaves which influence friends and families decisions to migrate
  4. More displaced persons due to conflicts such as the war in Iraq
  5. “Health tourists” are becoming popular
  6. We have a generous welfare system
  7. Has the world’s best universities and people are reluctant to go back after studying
  1. The EU has a free movement of labour act with A8 and A2 countries
  2. Exchange rates means that sometimes people can earn 10 times as much in the UK than elsewhere
  3. There is political stability in the UK
  4. Economic migrants are popular
  5. Remunerations and child benefits even if the child is in the source country are easy to access
  6. The retirement age is increasing in the UK


  1. Immigration has increased
  2. Emigration of economically active people have fallen
  3. Net immigration
  4. Immigrants manly from EU sources (esp. Eastern Europe)
  5. The ageing population are migrating to spain

The Role of Technology in a Shrinking World

Technology plays a key role in globalisation. Technology allows us to quickly, cheaply and easily communicate between different areas.  This has made is easy do business between countries. Hence, the expansion of TNCs are on the increase.

Another aspect of technology is that it is said to be cheaper than other inputs of production e.g. labour. This is why technology has allowed automation to take place between various firms.

In this post I want to look at the role of air travel, telecoms and the internet in promoting an interconnected world.

Air Travel

Air travel has always been around even if in the form of hot air balloons. It is claimed that the first was flown in 1903 and since then they have become popular and more sophisticated. In recent times, they have hit the mass markets, with companies such as Ryanair and EasyJet providing air travel for extremely cheap prices. This has meant people can visit countries all over the globe. This has many implications such as:

(a) It is easier for TNCs to manage branches all over the globe

(b) Consumers have more knowledge and demand of overseas goods and services 

(c) TNCs cannot exploit workers, tax etc. as free press has access to these places and can put their reputation down

Thus air travel has played a significant role in promoting an interconnected world.


Telecommunication is the transmission of messages over significant distances for the purposes of communication. In earlier years, these were slow methods such as telegrams. In recent years, they have become fast and efficient and many are now cheap too e.g. mobile phones, social networking sites (this blog is an example too!), websites, email etc. Telecoms has enabled us to strengthen and develop relations  with people from others which we haven’t been able to do so well in the past.

Communication is crucial for large firms like TNCs. Poor communication is seen as a cost. So as firms can use technology to communicate through different countries effectively, they can develop and widen their branches.


The internet was developed in the 1990s and became publicly popular in late 2001. This has changed the shape of our world whether it be communicating to someone 24 hours away in real time or being exposed to all kinds of knowledge or shopping at the click of your fingertips. The way we can communicate and research through the internet has helped create the interconnected world we now live in. The implications of this are that we now we have so much knowledge about everything- TNCs have to be transparent!

Case Study: Britons Migrate to Spain


This case study looks at the ‘Sun-seeking’ migrants from the UK to Spain. These are generally retired citizens. The tend to settle in locations such as Valencia, Andalucia and Galica


Pull Factors

  • It is financially cheap to migrate to Spain because of the value of the pound against the euro.
  • Mediterranean climate
  • Easy access through cheap flights, Eurostar etc.
  • The lifestyle of Spanish people particularly in the South attract many people.
  • Health care tends to be better in Spain than the UK 
  • Availability of leisure and recreational facilities in Spain e.g. Gardening
  • The Spanish landscape is prettier than the British one
  • Work or business connections may already exist there
  • The development of tourism has increased awareness of the destination attracting people there
  • Taxes are lower

Push Factors

  • The language can be difficult to grasp leaving some isolated.
  • Antipathy towards Britain and its politics
  • Higher retirement age
  • Life expectancy rates are higher in spain – people are said to be more fit and healthy there
  • Increased crime rates towards the elderly in the UK
  • Lack of space, congestion and poor environmental quality



  • Ethnic enclaves in places like Valencia can lead to tensions between locals and migrants and sometimes even racism.  
  • If migrants try to get involved in local politics or make significant impacts on the local area this can lead to resentment from locals as many of them may be patriotic.
  • House prices increase die to excess demand from Britons. This upsets many locals and furthers tensions between them.
  • Visual, noise and air pollutions will increase
  • Land development on coastal regions can destroy coasts and biodiversity.
  • Puts strain on water systems especially in semi-arid places putting pressure on the government.
  • Flood risk is increased due to this development. This puts pressure on the government to invest in defence etc. This is particularly hard for the government as there are increasing global pressure to be environmental friendly.


  • Through the Grey Pound, Spain’s economy gets a boost and this helps with job creation etc.
  • It also makes Spain’s resources more valuable e.g. large unproductive scrubland become valuable land to be build on.



  • The spending of the grey pound which stimulates the economy 
  • Loose out on the possible education opportunities grandparents can provide. They can also provide care allowing mothers to get back into work quickly
  • Family breakup, as Grandparents move away (loss of potential childcare)
  • Loss of highly experienced workforce especially if they retire early


  • Balance Britain’s top heavy population structure
  • It is a way of exporting issues such as more healthcare for the retired
  • Relieves pressure of resources such as land e.g. less pressure on greenfield sites to build new homes


In the past it was possible to sell of a house in the UK and buy one in Spain easily but the slumping of the pound against the Euro and the collapse of the housing market in Spain has made this difficult. This now become a push factor leading a fall in the number of sun seeking migrants.

However, this isn’t a long-term problem relatively because once the UK became financially strong again the pound will strengthen and people will continue to migrate to Spain. One of the reasons for this is technology. Technology has allowed us to created and interconnected world. For example the internet has made it easier to communicate with people and research places. Firms which exist in more than one country can help people with moving. One of the reasons why firms like this can exist is technology!

Suburbanisation in Los Angeles


SUBURBANISATION: This is the physical growth of areas on the fringes of major cities because of more and more people moving in suburbs.

Los Angeles as a ‘donut city’

Los Angles was booming with industry in the centre of the city with all sort of manufacturing firms e.g. car, steel and tyres industries. Then the city de-industrialised i.e. secondary industry died down and there was a growth in tertiary and quaternary sector. As many of these industries were footloose i.e. can be located anywhere they choose to be located on suburbs because there was big greenfield sites which had fewer planning regulations. This left the centre derelict and full of migrants, unemployment and crime. So that is when suburbanisation took place. Today this hole has been filled with TNCs as a way of attracting people back into inner cities.

So why did suburbanisation occur  in Los Angles?

One of the reasons this has happened because access to the fringes of cities had been improved and increased due to the construction of highways and most importantly the popularity of  CARS. To a certain extent the creation of  the electric tramway have also helped encourage suburbanisation. This meant that now people could live is quite and peaceful areas while gaining the economic benefits of cities e.g. working in cities, shopping in cities etc.

Push and pull factors are the crucial reasons why the introduction of motor vehicles and electric tramways had such a major impacts. In the table below I have put together push and pull factors of urban areas like Los Angles.

Urban Push

Suburban Pull


Cheaper land for larger properties

Declining Jobs – because there was a change in economy (decline in manufacturing and increase in services) and it appeared to be that average incomes were higher in suburbs 

Accessible – electric tramways/cars and higher personal mobility because of this. Before fuel was relatively cheap making commuting less expensive. The government had made large investments in transport services.

High Land rents

Large shopping centres

Fears for safety

Better schools and services

Businesses were looking for greenfield sites – there are huge land masses in suburban areas and fewer planning regulations

More open spaces

Crowded housing 

Low density, single family housing 

Congestions and overcrowding

Safer neighborhoods

Poor schools and services

So where to some of these migrants move to?

  1. Anaheim 
  2. Irvine
  3. Ontario

Problems of suburban sprawl:

  1. Time spent travelling meant that there may be no time left for family and friends
  2. Communities may only exist at night time – dormitory settlements
  3. Congested highways = more air pollution
  4. Loss of some of the best farmland 


1. What is suburbanisation?

2. What left L.A. with a hole in the middle? This was why it was called ‘donut city’.

3. What has now filled the hole?

4. Explain two urban push factors.

5.Explain two rural pull factors.

6. Where did migrants move to i.e. names of suburbs?

7. Suggest three problems of urban sprawl

8. Define a megacity

9. Define megalopolis 

10. Define urban agglomerations 


1. Suburbanisation is the physical growth of suburbs due to increased number of people moving to suburbs.

2. Deindustrialisation

3. TNCs

4. Pollution – factories causes air, visual and noise pollution and high land rent rates due to high demand and high land prices.

5. Accessibility – electric tramways and motor vehicles made this possible and better schools and services 

6. Irvine, Anaheim and Ontario

7. (i) Dormitory settlements (ii) increased air pollution and congested highways (iii) loss of some of the best farmland.

8. A City with a population of 10 million

9. A large urban area with several metropolitan centres

10. An extended city of town e.g. urban areas spreading out into suburbs 

Poverty, Globalisation and Sustainability

AIM: The viability of green strategies and ethical purchases to conserve and manage resources to create a more equitable world (such as buying locally or fair trading).

Developing an awareness that countries and individual consumers can have impacts on global poverty brought about by globalisation.


What is globalisation?

Globalisation is the process by which people, their cultures, money, goods and information can be transferred between countries with few or no barriers.

How do countries and individuals have impact on global poverty?

Countries and individuals in ‘rich’ countries like the UK, America, Germany etc have access to a range of goods from all over the season anytime of the year. But what they don’t realize is that much of these imports are increasing global poverty levels. For example, farmers in Africa in drought season do not have the financial power to grow food for themselves instead end up only growing cash crops making the poverty they live in worse.


Why implement them?

Our globalized world is having environmental and social problems for example importing can lead to increase productivity and carbon footprint. So we need to take actions to ensure we can have the benefits of globalisation and yet evade social and environmental problems.




Fair trade – The World Trade Centre supports free trade in which the original producers e.g. farmers get the smallest share of the final price so fair trade provides them with a bigger proportion.

How can we ensure this – especially with TNCs disapproving. Prices will go up and competition will slow down.

There will be less poverty among people in the developing world who are being exploited e.g. in the Coco trade.

Ethical Shopping- In ethical trading we seek to buy products which are organic, Fair Trade, locally produced. M&S is a great example they only sell Fair Trade tea or coffee, naturally died clothes, and buy from small overseas businesses.

Organic – more space need to grow crops hence this can destroy more forests

Locally produced – reduce market share that developing countries has and producing food in Africa is less energy intensive than the UK

Organic – it can reduce the poverty felt by farmers

Local Produce – We can cut food miles and reduce our emissions and support local farmers that suffer due to cheap imports.

Carbon offsetting and trading – This can either be certified through schemes that were created in the Kyoto Protocol or voluntary e.g. Cold Play planted 10,000 mango trees in Karnataka

If it is not done multilaterally then it can flee of investment being economically damaging and voluntary acts tend to one-off so we need a constant way of reducing emissions

Can significantly drop emission – the carbon scheme is a tries and tested method which failed but with a few alterations is worth another try.

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle – London has enough rubbish to fill the Canary Wharf every 10 days – its time we cut the crap! 

Incineration and landfill releases greenhouse gases and recycling takes up more energy. Reducing and Reusing is the way forward.

Composting produces humus that improves soil. We have seen large scale re-using in places like Dharvi in Mumbai which have worked so we could try it out on a more sophisticated level perhaps one off clothes from charity shops could become fashion!


  1. Define globalisation
  2. Define ecological footprint
  3. How can countries and individuals lead to global poverty?
  4. What are the disadvantages of using locally produced goods?
  5. What are the benefits of reducing, recycling and re-using?


  1. Globalisation is the process by which people, their cultures, money, goods and information can be transferred between countries with few or no barriers.
  2. Ecological footprint – this is the measure of the amount of land and water that a population needs in order to produce the resources that it consumes and to absorb to its waste, with existing technology. The UK would need 3.1 Earth’s worth of resources to meet its ecological footprint.
  3. We enjoy consuming goods and services from around the world at cheap prices. Our demand for cheap goods forces many into poverty e.g. farmers in Africa have to produce cash cops like millet at extremely low prices gaining no benefit from it.
  4. It can reduce market share for developing nations and variety we have to goods and services will be more narrower.
  5. There are many e.g. composting produces humus which improves soil and we have seen large scale re-using in places like Dharvi (Mumbai) which have actually worked.

Globalisation: The winners and the losers

Globalisation – The winners and the losers

What is globalisation?

Globalisation is the process by which people, culture, goods, services, money and information can be transferred between countries with few or no barriers.

How can it have social effects?

By encouraging technological advances and providing and goods that were once not produced in countries e.g. mangos in the UK we can raise living standard. Furthermore, now people had more knowledge of other cultures and lifestyles which can be good but for some countries isn’t as they are afraid to loose their cultural identity.

How can it economic effects?

In developing countries it has really initiated economic growth on a large scale. It has also provide incomes for countries that never had any constant source of income. It has provided jobs for many and encouraged spending in these local economies. However, many workers are still exploited e.g. child labour, paying under minimum wage, demand extremely low prices from suppliers etc.

How can it have environmental effects?

The realise of CO2 emissions has encourage climate change which causes adverse effects like Arctic ice melting and forcing species like polar bears to extinction. However, this also spurred of countries to work together e.g. In 2008 178 countries had signed the Kyoto Protocol and other global treaties are always being formed in regards to the environment. 

How can it have political effects?

So as mentioned in the environmental effects questions, countries have taken initiatives to work together and this has help build better political relations. However, sometimes there may be disagreements between trade problems etc which can lead to conflict.



  • From 1949 – 1976 Mao Zendong kept China communist and closed from the rest of the world. So when he died they started to lean towards the capitalist side and an ‘Open Door Policy’ was implemented to get investment from overseas.

How has it grown so fast?

  • China had many resources such as water (Yangtze river), oilfields, coal fields and gas fields. What is interesting at the time when places like the UK begun to develop through the discovery of coal China could not because the coal field were water stores like streams and transportation became a problem. So now with technological help they are able to extract and transport resources.
  • So not just natural resources China has a large and fit population which could produce many goods and services.
  • The workforce was also skilled because of increased spending in healthcare and education.
  • Demand from Western countries and the development of TNCs has increase China’s export market.
  • The creation of industrial Export Processing Zones has stimulated cheap mass manufacture.

Impacts of industrialisation and globalisation…


  • Air quality is bad- so bad that in 2005 it did not even reach the government’s own safety standard
  • Hills are being flattened to accommodate new commerce.
  • China’s rivers and lakes are polluted e.g. the Yangtze river which 1 in 12 people in the world rely , has such polluted tributaries that it is not fit for irrigation.
  • Deforestation has increased e.g. 85% of trees along Yangtze river have been cleared causing erosion and dust storms.
  • Acid rain is on the increase.


  • Many of the poor or people who work in primary and secondary sector work and usually exploited and forced to live in overcrowded squatter settlements.
  • Hyper-urbanisation from rural to urban areas is taking places at scale unimaginable.
  • Poverty levels are not improving e.g. 360 million people do not have access to clean drinking water.


  • Money is now being spent on developing infrastructure like roads etc through increase tax revenue

What about India and other BRIC countries? 

India and other BRIC countries too are suffering with similar consequences of globalisation and both have winners and losers. India for instance has made some farmers worse off as no investment of business come from the rural countryside and at the same time the young women of India are being given the chance to be independent work and earn enough money to make their parents faint. 

These countries are the nest superpowers and will take over countries such as Germany in terms of economic power and strength. So watch out!