This is how spectacular the growth of the world’s urbanization rate has been

This is how spectacular the growth of the world's urbanization rate has been

The world population has not grown especially until very recently, and the same has happened with the urbanization rate, that is, the proportion of the world population that resides in urban areas .

These data come from the Global Environment History Database or History Database of the Global Environment (HYDE), which spans 12,000 years.

Population rate

  • 10,000 – 3,000 BC: The estimated population grew from 2 million to 45, with an annual growth rate of only 0.04 percent.
  • 3000 – 1000 BC: annual growth rate of 0.05 percent.
  • 1000 BC – 1500 AD: 0.06 percent.
  • 1500 – 1800: 0.25 percent. The world population is multiplied by two, from 461 million to 990 million.
  • 1800 – 2000: 0.92 percent. The population is multiplied by six, from 990 million to 6.145 million.

Urbanization rate

The rate of urbanization runs fairly close to the rate of population. Even in year 1, the majority of humanity lived in small agricultural settlements, and only 1% lived in cities .

In 1000, 3 percent lived in cities. In 1500, 3.6 percent. As Jeffrey D. Sachs explains in his book The Ages of Globalization:

As late as 1900, the world urbanization rate was only 16 percent. It is not until the 20th century that more than half of humanity then lives in urban environments (an estimated 55 percent in 2020).

In other words, it is right now that we can affirm that, for the first time in the history of humanity, there are more people living in cities . And probably, before the end of this century, the percentage will have skyrocketed.