Infographic contributed by Kenneth Gray, Gottcha Wildlife
Until very recently, nearly all of the world’s population lived in rural areas and lived from farming or hunting, but the percentage who live in urban areas has recently increased dramatically. According to the Population Reference Bureau http://www.prb.org/Publications/Lesson-Plans/HumanPopulation/Urbanization.asp
- about 3% of the world’s population lived in urban areas in 1800.
- about 14% lived in urban areas in 1900, and 12 cities had a million inhabitants or more.
- about 30% lived in urban areas in 1950, and 83 cities had a million inhabitants or more.
- about 50% lived in urban areas in 2008. More than 400 cities had a million inhabitants or more, and 19 had over ten million.
- by 2050, it is projected that the urban population will reach 70%, with most of the growth coming in currently less developed countries.
The article explains the social implications of rapidly growing population in the developing world. Cities also have a different environment than rural areas in terms of temperature, for example, or what happens to rainwater. The following infographic looks at the environmental impact of urbanization.