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World Population Prospects

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World Urbanization Prospects, the 2011 Revision

Figure 1: Urban population by major geographical area (in per cent of total population)

Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division: World Urbanization Prospects, the 2011 Revision.
New York, 2012

Key facts: Of all major geographical areas, Northern America is the most urbanized: 82 per cent of the population lived in urban areas in 2010, up from slightly below 64 per cent in 1950. Based on our projections, Northern America will be almost 89 per cent urban by 2050. Latin America is also very urbanized. About 79 per cent of the population lived in urban areas in 2010. In 1950, the percentage urban was only 41. By the middle of the 21st century Latin America's population is projected to be 87 per cent urban.
In 1950, more than half of the population in Europe lived in urban areas (as compared to only 41 per cent in Latin America), but by 2010 Europe's urbanization was lower than that of Latin America - "only" about 73 per cent (as compared to 79 per cent in Latin America). In Asia urbanization has been low in the 1950 - only 17 per cent lived in urban areas. Today, it is about 44 per cent - a bit more than the level of urbanization of Latin America in the 1950s. By the middle of the century, Asia's population will be about 64 per cent urban. Oceania is the only major region, where the level of urbanization has stagnated (or even declined) since the mid-1970s - however at a high level of more than 70 per cent. It will not change much over the next decades. Africa has still the lowest percentage of urban population - slightly more than 39 per cent in 2010. However, the percentage urban will rapidly increase to about 58 per cent by 2050. In 1950, only some 14 per cent of Africa's population lived in urban areas.

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