Why did urbanization, the migration from rural areas into the cities, occur in England during the Industrial Revolution?

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The Industrial Revolution was characterized by changes in manufacturing methods—a shift from hand manufacturing methods to machine manufacturing methods. These developments affected the textile and metal works industries, among others. Additionally, the Industrial Revolution led to the development of transport and communication infrastructure in order to open up markets.

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The Industrial Revolution was characterized by changes in manufacturing methods—a shift from hand manufacturing methods to machine manufacturing methods. These developments affected the textile and metal works industries, among others. Additionally, the Industrial Revolution led to the development of transport and communication infrastructure in order to open up markets.

Prior the revolution, most people worked in agriculture; some farmed on their land and others were employed. Families also engaged in the home production of items such as textiles in order to satisfy family needs (with any surplus being traded). However, the Industrial Revolution introduced the factory system, which used equipment that individual farmers could not afford or compete with. Thus, the capitalists took control of most manufacturing processes, forcing people to seek employment in their factories. Some of these factories were located in the urban centers, and the people had to move from the rural areas to work in the factories.

An increase in population during the period also led to more people migrating to urban centers, because not all of them could be absorbed in the agriculture sector. Thus, these individuals had to seek work in the industries located in the urban centers. Additionally, smaller cottage industries could not compete with the larger urban factories, which did not require skilled workers. The situation forced these people to abandon their homes to search for work in the cities.

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Industrialization caused large amounts of people to move to the cities of England during the 18th and 19th centuries for two fundamental reasons.  Both reasons were as a result of the economic principle of supply and demand. First, the mechanization of farming tools led to higher individual crop yields for each farm. This meant that each farmer could produce more than they had in previous generations.  The implication of this is that not as many farm workers were needed to produce even more crops than in the past.  This led to a drastic decrease in the demand for agrarian workers.

A second reason that urbanization occurred with industrialism is because the profitability of manufacturing led to a high demand of unskilled workers.  The labor pool would naturally come from the now displaced farm workers mentioned earlier.  Factories were placed in the urban areas because of the better infrastructure, transportation networks, and technologies found in the cities.

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