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Around the turn of the century, for the first time in history, urban dwellers outnumbered their rural counterparts, and by2015 , nearly 4 billion people— 54 per cent of the world’s population—lived in cities.
Half of humanity – 3.5 billion people – lives in cities today and 5 billion people are projected to live in cities by 2030, so it’s important that efficient urban planning and management practices are in place to deal with the challenges brought by urbanization.
Since about 2008 the majority of the world’s population has lived in urban areas. Only South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa remain more rural than urban.
Share of total population(%)
As larger numbers of people move to urban areas, city boundaries typically expand to accommodate new inhabitants. From 2000 to 2015, in all regions of the world, the expansion of urban land outpaced the growth of urban populations—that is, the average ratio of the land consumption rate to the population growth rate was greater than one. The ratio increased from 1.22 between 1990 and 2000 to 1.28 between 2000 and 2015. This means that cities are becoming less dense as they grow, with unplanned urban sprawl negatively affecting the sustainability of urban development. Hence the expansion of urban land is outpacing urban population growth.
Average ratio of land consumption rate to population growth rate, 1990-2000 and 2000-2015
Note: This chart includes a combination of SDG regional groupings and regional groupings from UN-Habitat. “Europe and Japan” includes European countries and Japan; “Land-rich developed countries” includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States of America; and “Eastern Asia and Oceania” excludes Japan, Australia and New Zealand
World Bank Group - ATLAS on Sustainable Development Goals – 2018 (From the world development Indicators)