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World Urbanization Prospects: 2009

According to a recent report released by Population Division of the United Nations on Urbanization, over 53% of the world’s total urban population of 3.4 billion resides in towns with less than 5 lakh population. Of these 1.14billion or 1/3rd stay in towns with less than 1 lakh population. Only 9% of the world’s urban population lives in the 21 mega cities existing today.

This report provides first official confirmation that current urban population is just over 50% of the world population of 6.8 billion. It is expected that world population will increase to 9.1 billion by 2050.The urban segment will increase by 84% to reach about 6.3 billion by that year. About 70% of the people will be living in the urban areas by that year.

Rural populations are projected to start declining by the end of this decade and by 2050 there will be 0.5 billion less rural people in the world.

The distribution of urban population among different sizes of cities varies widely across the globe. In Europe 67% of urban people live in the cities with fewer than half a million inhabitants and 8% live in cities with 5 million inhabitants or more. African situation is somewhat similar to Europe with 58% of urban population living in smaller cities and just 9% living in cities with over 5 million inhabitants.

In Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean about one in every five urban dweller live in a large urban agglomeration. The proportion of urban dwellers living in small cities is about 50% in Asia and Caribbean but lower at 37% in Northern America.

In India about 14% of urban population -53 million people stay in 3 10 million plus urban areas. Another 9% or 32 million stay in cities of size ranging between 5 to 10 million. A 27% of total urban population lives in cities between half a million and 5 million in size. The bulk of Indians -181 million or 50% live in small towns with less than half a million population.

Source: The Times of India

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