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World urbanization prospects

The 2014 revision - highlights

image of World urbanization prospects
This report presents the highlights of the 2014 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects, which contains the latest estimates of the urban and rural populations of 233 countries or areas from 1950 to 2014 and projections to 2050, as well as estimates of population size from 1950 to 2014 and projections to 2030 for all urban agglomerations with 300,000 inhabitants or more in 2014. The world urban population is at an all-time high, and the share of urban dwellers, currently at 54 per cent, is projected to represent two thirds of the global population in 2050. Continued urbanization will bring new opportunities and challenges for sustainable development.

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Trends in urbanization

Globally, more people live in urban areas than in rural areas. In 2007, for the first time in history, the global urban population exceeded the global rural population, and the world population has remained predominantly urban thereafter (figure 2). The planet has gone through a process of rapid urbanization over the past six decades. In 1950, more than two-thirds (70 per cent) of people worldwide lived in rural settlements and less than one-third (30 per cent) in urban settlements. In 2014, 54 per cent of the world’s population is urban. The urban population is expected to continue to grow, so that by 2050, the world will be one-third rural (34 per cent) and two-thirds urban (66 per cent), roughly the reverse of the global rural-urban population distribution of the mid-twentieth century (also see Annex Table I).

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