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Fridays Academy: Urbanization and Growth

Ignacio Hernandez's picture

Based on Raj Nallari and Indira Iyer's lecture notes.

 

Trends in Urbanization (II)

The process of rapid urbanization started first in today’s more developed regions. In 1920, just under 30 per cent of their population was urban and by 1950, more than half of their population was living in urban areas. In 2007, high levels of urbanization, surpassing 80 per cent, characterized Australia, New Zealand and Northern America. Among the less developed regions, Latin America and the Caribbean has an exceptionally high level of urbanization (78 per cent in 2007), higher than that of Europe. Africa and Asia, in contrast, remain mostly rural, with 38 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively, of their populations living in urban areas. Over the coming decades, the level of urbanization is expected to increase in all major areas of the developing world, with Africa and Asia urbanizing more rapidly than the rest. Nevertheless, by mid-century, Africa and Asia are still expected to have lowest level of urbanization in comparison to other regions of the world.

 

Region Wise Levels of Urbanization, 2007

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Source: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs/Population Division 5. World Urbanization Prospects: The 2007 Revision

 

Despite its low level of urbanization, in 2007 Asia was home to about half of the urban population in the world. Europe had the second highest share, at 16 per cent (figure below). Over the next four decades, Africa and Asia will experience a marked increase in their urban populations. In Africa the urban population is likely to treble and in Asia it will more than double. By mid-century, in absolute terms, most of the urban population of the world will be concentrated in Asia (54 per cent) and Africa (19 per cent).

 

Distribution of World’s Urban Population: 1950, 2007, and 2050

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Source: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs/Population Division 5. World Urbanization Prospects: The 2007 Revision

 

Next Friday: Urbanization and Growth