World Urbanization Prospects: The 2018 Revision

image of World Urbanization Prospects: The 2018 Revision

The report presents findings from the 2018 revision of World Urbanization Prospects, which contains the latest estimates of the urban and rural populations or areas from 1950 to 2018 and projections to 2050, as well as estimates of population size from 1950 to 2018 and projections to 2030 for all urban agglomerations with 300,000 inhabitants or more in 2018. The world urban population is at an all-time high, and the share of urban dwellers, is projected to represent two thirds of the global population in 2050. Continued urbanization will bring new opportunities and challenges for sustainable development.



Introduction and policy implications

The future of the world’s population is urban. With more than half of the world’s people living in urban areas (55 per cent, up from 30 per cent in 1950), urbanization determines the spatial distribution of the world’s population and is one of the four demographic mega-trends, with the growth of the global population, population ageing, and international migration. Estimates and projections of urbanization introduced in this report indicate that the future growth of the human population can be accounted for almost entirely by a growing number of city dwellers. By mid-century, roughly two thirds (68 per cent) of the world’s population will be living in urban areas. The global urban population is projected to grow by 2.5 billion urban dwellers between 2018 and 2050, with nearly 90 per cent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa. In many regions, the share of population living in cities, as well as the number and size of cities, will continue to grow, driven by a combination of factors, including a surplus of births over deaths in urban areas, migration from rural to urban areas and from abroad (Lerch, 2017) as well as the urbanization of formerly rural areas. Urbanization is also transforming the lives of those living in the rural areas around cities. Cities are major gateways and destinations for internal and international migrants and migration needs to be integrated into the strategic planning and management of cities and urban systems.


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