the march of the cities

the march of the cities
The March of
T
he coming year marks a dramatic milestone: the
world’s urban population will outstrip its rural
population, albeit with big regional variations.
The most urbanized region in the developing
Author:
— Chart
worldPicture
is Latin This
America
and the1Caribbean, with 77 percent
of
the
population,
or
432
million people, living in cities. But
Date: 8/3/07
Asia
has
the
largest
urban
population—some 1.6 billion—
proof: 2
although only 40 percent of its population is urbanized.
Within the next year, the world’s urban
population will surpass its rural population.
Latin America 3.2b
and Caribbean
1.6b
Asia
24m
World
Africa
353m
10
0
1950
70
80
90
4.2b
5.0b
4.6b
3.9b
05 10 15 20 25 30
3.5b
2.3b
2.6b
2.0b
1.7b
1.5b
1.2b
1.3b
0.9b
55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95
Urban population
60
2.9b
Europe
40
3.2b
50
20
Color60
coding:
North America
Oceania
40
Europe
Latin American and Caribbean
World
20
Asia
Africa
0
528m
60
30
80
432m 268m
70
2000
North America
Oceania
1.0b
100
1950
80
Developing regions now account for nearly
75 percent of the world’s urban population.
(regional share of total world urban population, percent)
(urban population as a percent of total population)
90
Until the mid-20th century, the mostly developed regions
ofAuthor:
North America
Europe
hosted
Pictureand
This
— Chart
1 the majority share of the
world’s urban population. Since then, urban growth has shifted
Date: 7/23/07
to developing regions. By 2030, Asia, Africa, and Latin America
proof:
and
the 3Caribbean are expected to account for more than
80 percent of the world’s urban population.
0.7b
PICTURE
THIS
2000
10
20
30
Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division,
World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision (2007).
Note: m=million people; b=billion people.
Not surprisingly, most of the countries with the fastestgrowing urban populations have been located mainly in
Africa and Asia. Urban growth in these countries is often
spearheaded by their largest city. For example, Gaborone,
Botswana, has grown from a population of 18,000 in 1971 to
more than 186,000 people today.
Over the past 25 years, the countries with the
fastest-growing urban populations have been
low- and middle-income countries.
Urban population Urban population Percentage point
1980
2005
change, 1980–2005
(percent of total)
Botswana
16.5
57.4
40.9
Cape Verde
23.5
57.3
33.8
Angola
24.3
53.3
29.0
Gabon
54.7
83.6
28.9
Oman
44.3
71.5
27.2
Indonesia
22.1
48.1
26.0
The Gambia
28.4
53.9
25.5
Malaysia
42.0
67.3
25.3
Philippines
37.5
62.7
25.2
São Tomé and Príncipe
33.5
58.0
24.6
Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division,
World Urbanization Prospects: The 2005 Revision (2006).
18 Finance & Development September 2007
North America
Europe
Latin America and
Caribbean
Asia1
Africa
Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division,
World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision (2007).
Note: b=billion people. The number refers to the total global urban population for the
designated year.
1
Includes Oceania, which is 1 percent or less.
Overall, the world is no longer experiencing the rapid
urban growth
were commonplace
in the mid-20th
Author:
Picturerates
Thisthat
— Chart
4
century.
In
fact,
the
rate
of
urban
growth
has
been declining
Date: 7/18/07
over the past 50 years. Still, urbanization continues at a rapid
proof: 2
pace in Africa and Asia—also the most populous regions of
the world.
Growth rates of urban populations are expected
to slow, but to remain 1–2 percent in most regions.
(urban population annual growth rate, percent)
6
Latin America
and Caribbean
Africa
5
4
Asia
3
Oceania
2
1
0
1950
North America
60
70
Europe
80
90
2000
10
Five-year period beginning
20
30
Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division,
World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision (2007).
the Cities
Author: Picture This — Chart 5
Dramatic growth in megacities (those with 10 million people or
Date:
7/18/07
more) has not panned out as once anticipated. Today, most of the
proof:
world’s 2
urban population lives in small and intermediate-sized cities. Just 16 percent of urban residents live in cities with more than
5 million inhabitants.
Most city dwellers live in smaller cities.
(number of cities)
500
450
400
350
300
250
200
150
100
50
0
Demographic indicators of the quality of life—in health, education, and sanitation—are higher in urban areas than rural areas.
Author: female
Picture
This —
Chart
6 higher among urban
For example,
literacy
rates
are much
dwellers
than
rural dwellers, because urbanization tends to boost
Date:
7/18/07
girls’proof:
access to
2 an education and promotes cultural acceptance of
their right to education. But literacy levels are much higher for the
urban rich than the urban poor.
Female literacy rates are on average 35 percent higher
in urban populations than rural populations . . .
10 million or more
5 to 10 million
1 to 5 million
500,000 to 1 million
(female urban literacy rate, percent)
100
90
80
The size of each circle indicates
a country’s population. A circle
of this size
= 50 million people.
70
1975
80
85
90
95
2000
05
10
15
Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, World
Urbanization Prospects: The 2005 Revision (2006).
Sub-Saharan Africa
North Africa/West Asia/
Eastern Europe
South and Southeast Asia
Latin America and Caribbean
60
50
40
30
20
10
Health disadvantages experienced by the urban poor are most
dramatic in slum areas, which lack piped water, sanitation facilities,
garbage collection, and drainage. And urban outdoor air pollution
is responsible for roughly 3 million deaths worldwide each year.
One out of every three urban dwellers worldwide now lives in a
slum—and in sub-Saharan Africa this fraction more than doubles.
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Female rural literacy rate, percent
Source: ORC Macro, 2007. MEASURE DHS STATcompiler. http://www.measuredhs.com,
June 11, 2007.
Note: If literacy rates are equal among urban and rural populations, circles will line up with
the dotted line; circles above the line indicate the urban population has a higher literacy rate
than the rural population.
. . . but, as of 2007, more than 30 percent of the world’s urban population—1 billion people—resides in
slums, and 90 percent of slum dwellers live in the developing world.
(slum population as a percentage of urban population in developing regions)
Source: UN-HABITAT DHS; accessed at www.devinfo.info/
Prepared by Patrick Salyer and David Bloom of Harvard University.
Finance & Development September 2007 19
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