Urban Population (in 1,000s) and Percentage of Urban Population per Continent, 1950-2030

Urban Population (in 1,000s) per Continent, 1950-2030

Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Urbanization Prospects.

The majority of the growth in the urban population takes place in developing economies, which will account for 93% of a 2 billion increase in the global urban population between 2000 and 2030. Much of this growth will come in the world’s least developed economies. This raises issues about mobility and access to urban transportation as a factor of development. Yet, economic growth in many developing countries has resulted in a substantial rise in the average level of mobility.

There is a difference between proportions and absolute numbers in urbanization. For instance, in 2000 the level of urbanization in Asia was low (36%), but the absolute number of urban dwellers makes Asia the most urbanized region in the world with 1.35 billion urban residents. Developed economies are still the most urbanized, but Latin America has almost filled the gap. Even if the share of urban population is smaller in developing economies, the number of urban dwellers is twice as much as developed countries.