Urbanization in Malaysia 2018

This statistic shows the degree of urbanization in Malaysia from 2008 to 2018. Urbanization means the share of urban population in the total population of a country. In 2018, 76.04 percent of Malaysia's total population lived in urban areas and cities.

Urban areas in Malaysia

Malaysia is currently one of the most urbanized countries of East Asia, and also one of the most rapidly urbanized regions around the world; over the last ten years, the urban population in Malaysia has increased from around 66 percent in 2004 to 74 percent in 2014. This growth is expected to continue, as people from rural areas migrate to urban areas due to the economy and employment continuing to shift from agriculture to industry and services.

At present, the largest city in terms of population is Kuala Lumpur, which is home to around 1.31 million inhabitants - which is still relatively small, considering that the entire population of Malaysia amounts to around 31 million. Malaysia is also home to a number of smaller urban areas, and there are three other urban areas with more than 500,000 inhabitants.

Urban areas in Malaysia, notably Kuala Lumpur, are less dense than is common for urban areas in East Asia. This means that dealing with and limiting sprawl will be a challenge. As the urban transformation continues, there is still a chance to find a balance between urban and rural settlements in an equitable, compact and sustainable manner.

Malaysia: Urbanization from 2008 to 2018

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Release date

December 2019



Survey time period

2008 to 2018

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Statistics on "Malaysia"

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