The U.N. celebrates Cities Day tomorrow to bring a focus to urbanization. Data from its own Population Division shows where in the world urban populations are growing fastest. Africa and Asia – which already have urban populations bigger in total than those in Europe, Latin America or North America – have been increasing their share of urban dwellers most in the last 70 years.
While in 1950, less than 20 percent of Africans and Asians lived in cities, that number had increased to 43 percent and 51 percent, respectively, by 2020. Latin America & the Caribbean also increased urban populations majorly during the same time period, arriving at an urban population share of more than 80 percent – higher than that of Europe.
Urban populations made up the highest share in Northern American countries – 83.6 percent of residents lived in cities in 2020.
Overall, more people in the world have lived in urban settings than in rural setting since 2010. In 2020, 56.2 percent of the world population was urban. Half of these people lived in cities of less than 500,000 inhabitants.