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Upwardly Urban Mobility — March 2022

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According to UN estimates, 2007 was the first year when the world’s urban population exceeded the rural population. Urbanisation has increased strongly as the world as whole has got richer: 16% in 1900 (when London was the largest city in the world with a population of a mere 5m), 30% in 1950; 50% in 2007. Forecasts suggest the proportion will reach 68% by 2050 (see chart). Currently, the largest city in the world (depending on how you measure it) is Tokyo, with a metropolitan population of 37m.

1900 1925 1950 1975 2000 2025 2050 2 4 6 8 10 World population (billions) Rural Urban population Rural Urban population
Source: OWID, UN

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