Urbanization is a global trend. The United Nations projects that 66 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050, up from 54 percent currently and 30 percent in 1950. As PRB illustrated in the 2016 World Population Data Sheet, urbanization brings many challenges in terms of air pollution, municipal waste management, and people’s access to water and sanitation services. Governments also face strains on roads and other infrastructure. However, urban areas also can become motors for economic growth and, for many residents, economic mobility. The majority of the world’s population living in urban areas is a milestone reached only within the last decade. In Africa and Asia, however, the majority of the population is still rural, and most countries in Africa will remain majority rural for about a generation.
Check out our interactive map and discover what percentage of each country’s population lives in urban areas. Then explore the urban-rural divide in health and development with our topical data sheet.