More from UNDESAVol 23 No. 5 - May 2018

Release of the World Urbanization Prospects: The 2018 Revision

On 16 May 2018, the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations will launch the 2018 Revision of the World Urbanization Prospects, a recurrent series providing estimates and projections of the size of urban and rural populations for all countries of the world, and of population size for individual cities or urban agglomerations. In today’s increasingly global and interconnected world, 55 per cent of the world’s population live in urban areas. In the coming decades, further increases are expected both in the size of the world’s urban population and in its share of the total. The widespread growth of urban areas described in the new revision highlights the importance of building sustainable cities, whose growth should be planned and well managed.

For this latest study, information on the percentage of persons living in urban areas has been updated using the most recent information from population censuses or other sources of official estimates.  Similarly, this revision contains updated estimates for cities and urban agglomerations. The current revision includes the latest estimates of the size of the urban and rural populations of 233 countries or areas from 1950 to 2018, with projections to 2050. In addition, it presents the trend in population size for close to 1,900 urban settlements having 300,000 inhabitants or more in 2018.

Key results are:

(1) By 2050 it is projected that around two thirds of the human population will live in urban areas.
(2) Over 90 per cent of the growth in urban populations between now and 2050 will take place in Asia and Africa.
(3) Urbanization is proceeding most rapidly in low-income countries and in sub-Saharan Africa.
(4) About half of all urban dwellers reside in cities with fewer than half a million inhabitants.

Photo: Yang Aijun/World Bank

For more information: Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

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