This study identified and analyzed the order of service centres in Ijesaland, Nigeria. Both primary and secondary data types were used. The primary data were obtained through household and management questionnaires, field observations and in-depth interviews. Only 199 out of 488 settlements in Ijesaland were selected for the study based on the availability of any one of the identified 27 Central Place Functions. At the initial stage, none of the settlements was treated as superior to any other; this classification was identified only after analyzing the groupings. Data were analysed using Principal Component Analysis (PCA). The PCA ordination of the settlements using the first two components (super-markets and secondary schools) which accounted for 79.1% of variance in the data set revealed six orders of centres in the study area. These are: 1 Main Centre, 3 Higher-Order Centres, 20 Intermediate Centres, 45 Lower-Order Centres, and 130 Rural Centres. The study underscored that traditional ethno-graphic regions are often characterized by regional imbalance. Spatial and social disparities in Ijesaland are largely tied to the spatial arrangement of communication network.
Key words: Hierarchy, settlements, Ijesaland, central place functions, service centres, Yoruba land, core - periphery, primate city.
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