In 2022, the degree of urbanization worldwide was at 57 percent. North America was the region with the highest level of urbanization, with over four fifths of the population residing in urban areas. The degree of urbanization defines the share of population living in areas that are defined as "cities". A definition of a city differs across various world regions - some countries count settlements with one hundred houses or more as urban, while others only include the capital of a country or provincial capitals in their count. On the other hand, less than half of Africa's population live in urban settlements. Globally, China accounts for over one fifth of the built-up areas of more than 500,000 inhabitants.
Largest agglomerations worldwide
Though North America is the most urbanized continent, no U.S. city was among the top ten urban agglomerations worldwide in 2022. Tokyo-Yokohama in Japan was the largest urban area in the world that year, with 39.2 million inhabitants. New York ranked eleventh, with 20.9 inhabitants. Eight of the 10 most populous cities are located in Asia.
It may be hard to imagine how the reality will look like in 2050, with 70 percent of the global population living in cities, but some statistics illustrate the ways urban living differs from suburban and rural living. American urbanites may lead more “connected” (i.e. internet connected) lives than their rural and/or suburban counterparts. As of 2021, around 89 percent of people living in urban areas owned a smartphone. Internet usage was also higher in cities than in rural areas. On the other hand, rural areas always have, and always will attract those who want to escape the rush of the city.
Share of urban population worldwide in 2022, by continent
According to the source the data from the above statistic originates from official statistical yearbooks and bulletins of the particular country. Moreover, publications of the United Nations, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (Population Division) of the UN and the U.S. Census Bureau serve as data sources. Further sources are recent demographic studies, special studies and direct interviews with demographers and inquiries at statistical offices of the U.S. and other countries.
Profit from the additional features of your individual account
Currently, you are using a shared account. To use individual functions (e.g., mark statistics as favourites, set
statistic alerts) please log in with your personal account.
If you are an admin, please authenticate by logging in again.
Access All Statistics. Starting from $1,788 USD / Year
Learn more about how Statista can support your business.
Population Reference Bureau. (September 27, 2022). Share of urban population worldwide in 2022, by continent [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved December 06, 2023, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/270860/urbanization-by-continent/
Population Reference Bureau. "Share of urban population worldwide in 2022, by continent." Chart. September 27, 2022. Statista. Accessed December 06, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/270860/urbanization-by-continent/
Population Reference Bureau. (2022). Share of urban population worldwide in 2022, by continent. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: December 06, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/270860/urbanization-by-continent/
Population Reference Bureau. "Share of Urban Population Worldwide in 2022, by Continent." Statista, Statista Inc., 27 Sep 2022, https://www.statista.com/statistics/270860/urbanization-by-continent/
Population Reference Bureau, Share of urban population worldwide in 2022, by continent Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/270860/urbanization-by-continent/ (last visited December 06, 2023)
Share of urban population worldwide in 2022, by continent [Graph], Population Reference Bureau, September 27, 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/270860/urbanization-by-continent/