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The Big Answer


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Urbanization—Another Problem

an article by our site

Globally, urbanization has accelerated since World War II. In 1950, less than 30 percent of the world population lived in cities; by 2000, half of the world population was urbanized. The quality of life in bigger cities will be extremely low, the potential for political instability great. The hazards of urban crowding are already apparent in Brazil and Mexico. In 2014, around 10 percent more people are in cities than in rural settings.

Megacities have massive sprawl, serious environmental problems, and widespread poverty
Megacities have massive sprawl, serious environmental problems, and widespread poverty

While urbanization brings with it a ready and willing labor force, it also creates a growing pool of "urban poor."

Humans have lived a rural lifestyle through most of history. But the world is quickly becoming urbanized as people move to the cities. In 1950, less than 30% of the world’s population lived in cities. This number grew to 47% in the year 2000 and it is expected to grow to 60% by the year 2025.

“Cities with over 5 million inhabitants are known as megacities. There were 41 in the year 2000. This number is expected to grow as the population increases in the next few decades. It is predicted that by the year 2015, 50 megacities will exist, and 23 of these are expected to have over 10 million people. . . . The rapid growth of cities strains their capacity to provide services such as energy, education, health care, transportation, sanitation and physical security. Because governments have less revenue to spend on the basic upkeep of cities and the provision of services, cities have become areas of massive sprawl, serious environmental problems, and widespread poverty.” (Source: Urbanization and Global Change.)

"Not only has the overall level of urbanization increased, but the growth has been particularly dramatic among particularly poor places," Harvard economist Edward Glaeser writes in a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper in December.

Percentage of World Population- Urban/Rural
(Source: Taylorluker, 2010, Percentage of World Population - Urban/Rural)

Americans are moving from rural to suburban areas, with urban dwelling decreasing only a little.