Urbanization in the United States 1970 to 2018

The statistic shows the degree of urbanization in the United States from 1970 to 2018 and details the percentage of the entire population living in urban areas. In 2018, about 82.26 percent of the total population in the United States lived in cities and urban areas.

Urbanization in the United States

With the United States being populated and inhabited by settlers and migrants quite late in comparison to other nations, urbanization took place a lot later than in other developed nations. Urbanization is defined as the migration of people to the cities (mostly from rural areas, but also from other countries) making the cities larger and more populated.

The term ‘Urbanization’ is mainly used in reference to larger cities, it is a phenomenon caused by the migration of people to urban areas in search of better living standards, for example greater job opportunities, better health conditions or housing. Urbanization is one of the factors that has contributed to the abandonment of rural areas and the agricultural way of life in favor of industrial jobs and improved conditions. Many young people from rural areas see moving to the city as a way of enabling them to live their life in the manner that they choose.

Urbanization in the States was most prominent on the East Coast to begin with, as it initially served as the main point of entry for the majority of migrants; the gradual settling of other areas of the country followed subsequently. Today, however, Western parts of the United States are classed as being the most urbanized; the majority of cities and urban areas can be found here. The Northeast is also highly urbanized, with New York being the most populous city in the United States. According to the US Census Bureau, out of all US states, only four still have a rural majority: Vermont, West Virginia, Mississippi and Maine.

Degree of urbanization in the United States from 1970 to 2018

Share of total population in urban areas
2015 81.67%
2014 81.48%
2013 81.3%
2012 81.12%
2011 80.94%
2010 80.77%
2009 80.61%
2008 80.44%
2005 79.93%
2000 79.06%
1995 77.26%
1990 75.3%
1985 74.49%
1980 73.74%
1975 73.65%
1970 73.6%
Loading statistic...
You need to log in to download this statistic
Register for free
Already a member?
Log in
Show detailed source information?
Register for free
Already a member?
Log in

Release date

December 2019


United States

Survey time period

1970 to 2018

Statista Accounts: Access All Statistics. Starting from $708 / Year
Basic Account
Get to know the platform

You only have access to basic statistics.

Single Account
Your perfect start with Statista
  • Instant access to 1m statistics
  • Download in XLS, PDF & PNG format
  • Detailed references

$59 / Month *

Corporate Account
Full access

Corporate solution including all features.

* All products require an annual contract.
   Prices do not include sales tax.

Statistics on "Demographics of the U.S. Part I"

Statista Accounts: Access All Statistics. Starting from $708 / Year
Learn more about how Statista can support your business.