- The recently adopted Degree of Urbanisation allows a consistent definition and comparison of urbanisation at a global scale. Based on this new definition, the world is already much more urbanised than previously thought. While, for 2015, the UN reports that 54% of the global population lived in urban areas, this new definition leads to an estimate of 76.5% in 2015 - some 5.6 billion people. This share increased from 69% (2.8 billion people) in 1975, to 73% (3.9) in 1990 and 75% (4.6) in 2000.
- According to the same new definition, urban centres have almost doubled in number (from more than 6,900 in 1975 to more than 13,100 in 2015) and their population size has also grown. In the majority of countries population grows faster in urban areas than in rural ones.
- Over the last 25 years, cities globally have grown in size by an area equal to that of Romania. Furthermore, about 60% of cities have also seen an increase in land consumed per new resident.
- In 2015, urban areas hosted some 5.6 billion people, nearly the double than in 1975, and their surface area (built-up footprint) exceeded half a million km2 (a 20% increase since 2000). While in the rest of the world the urban population increased faster than or at roughly the same rate as the built-up area, in Europe and Northern America the inverse occurred, meaning that more land is now being consumed to accommodate new citizens than in the past.
- Based on previously accepted definitions of urbanised areas, the ratio of the world's urban population is expected to increase from 55% in 2018 (approximately 4.2 billion people) to 68% by 2050, meaning that the world's urban population will nearly double. By 2100, some 85% of the population will live in cities, with urban population increasing from less than 1 billion in 1950 to 9 billion by 2100.
- Globally, urbanisation is occurring at different rates – considerably faster in developing regions than in the developed ones. Africa is expected to be the fastest urbanising region: in the last 25 years, urban population has more than doubled almost all across sub-Saharan Africa. Meanwhile, in many parts of North America and Europe urban population has instead declined.
- About 45% of the world’s urban dwellers live in settlements with less than 250,000 inhabitants, and almost 60% in settlements with fewer than 1000000 inhabitants.
- In 2015, there were 467 urban centres with at least 1 million inhabitants, and globally 29 megacities (with over 10 million inhabitants). By 2030, there will be a projected 662 cities with at least 1 million inhabitants and 43 megacities, most of which will be in developing regions. Of the future megacities, 2 will be in India; Delhi is projected to become the world's most populous city around 2028, overtaking Tokyo, which has a declining population. By 2025, China will have more than 220 "million" cities and 8 megacities.
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