Urbanization (also spelled "urbanisation") is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change. Urbanization is also defined by the United Nations as movement of people from rural to urban areas with population growth equating to urban migration.Urbanization refers to a process in which an increasing proportion of an entire population lives in cities and the suburbs of cities. Historically, it has been closely connected with industrialization. When more and more inanimate sources of energy were used to enhance human productivity (industrialization), surpluses increased in both agriculture and industry. In 2008, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population will be living in towns and cities. By 2030 this number will swell to almost 5 billion, with urban growth concentrated in Africa and Asia.

Top 10 - Urbanization

2007 Est

Tokyo (Japan)


New York-Newark (US)






Sao Paulo










Buenos Aires


In principle, cities offer a more favourable setting for the resolution of social and environmental problems than rural areas. Cities generate jobs and income. With good governance, they can deliver education, health care and other services more efficiently than less densely settled areas simply because of their advantages of scale and proximity.And the density of urban life can relieve pressure on natural habitats and areas of biodiversity. The challenge for the next few decades is learning how to exploit the possibilities urbanization offers.

Fertility rates are lower in urban than in rural areas throughout the world. However, the fact that such large percentages of people in many developing countries are young means that urban population growth will continue rapidly for years to come. Moreover, impoverished urban women are significantly less likely than their more affluent counterparts to have access to reproductive health or contraception. Not surprisingly, they have higher fertility rates.

Urban population:

48.6% of total population (2005)

Rate of urbanization:

1.98% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Poverty is now growing faster in urban than in rural areas. One billion people live in urban slums, which are typically overcrowded, polluted and dangerous, and lack basic services such as clean water and sanitation.Although urbanization increasingly concentrates poverty, it also provides possibilities for escaping it. For the most part, rich countries are already urbanized.

Urbanization is a two-way process because it involves not only movement from village to cities and change from agricultural occupation to business, trade, service and profession but it also involves change in the migrants attitudes, beliefs, values and behavior patterns. The process of urbanization is rapid all over the world.

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