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More people now live in cities than in rural areas

More people now live in cities than in rural areas

More people now live in cities than in rural areas
February 27, 2008

By the end of 2008, half of the world’s 6.7 billion people will live in urban areas, according to a report released today by the United Nations.

The 2007 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects provides the official UN estimates and projections of the urban, rural and city populations of all countries in the world up to 2050.

The report predicts that future growth of the world’s urban population will be concentrated in Asia and Africa.

“Although Asia and Africa are the least urbanized areas, they account for most of the urban population of the world,” said Hania Zlotnik, Director of the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), which prepared the report.

Projected world rural and urban population 1950-2050

Presently Asia’s cities are home to 1.6 billion, but the U.N. expects that number to rise by another 1.8 billion people by 2050. China — which is now 40 per cent urban — will have 1 billion (70 percent) living in urban areas by then. India is projected to have 55 percent or 900 million living in cities by mid-century.

“India is expected to urbanize much less than China and, therefore, it is expected to remain the country with the largest rural population during most of the future decades,” said Zlotnik.

Africa wil see its urban population climb from 340 million to over 900 million over the next forty years.

Toyko is expected to remain the world’s largest city until 2025.

The report says it projections will only be accurate if fertility rates in the developing world continue to decline. Under this scenario the world urban population will be 6.4 billion in 2050.

This article is based on a news release from the U.N.

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