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Saturday, March 25, 2000, updated at 10:24(GMT+8)


U.N.Report Says World Population Growth To Occur in Urban Areas

Virtually all population growth from now until 2030 will be concentrated in the urban areas of the world, a United Nations report said on Friday. By 2007, the number of urban dwellers is also expected to exceed the number of rural dwellers for the first time in history, the report said.

Those data are part of the 1999 revision of the United Nations Official estimates and projections of urban, rural and city population, just released by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Major findings of the study are:

-- The world is expected to reach 50 percent urban for the first time in history in 2007. In 2000. 2.9 billion people live in urban areas, comprising 47 percent of the world population. By 2030, 4.9 billion are expected to live in urban areas, or 60 percent of the world.

-- Virtually all the population growth expected from 2000 to 2030 will be concentrated in the urban areas of the world. During that period, the urban population is expected to increase by 2 billion persons, the same number that will be added to the whole population of the world.

-- Most of the population increase expected during 2000-2030 will be absorbed by the urban areas of the less developed regions. The urban population of the less developed regions will probably rise from 1.9 billion in 2000 to 3.9 billion in 2030.

-- In 1995-2000, the world's urban population grew at a rate of 2.1 percent per year. During 2000-2030, it will grow at an average annual rate of 1.8 percent. At that rate of growth, the world's urban population will double in 38 years.

-- The Urban growth rate of less developed regions reached 2.9 percent per year in 1995-2000, compared to 0.6 percent in more developed regions. The urban growth rate will continue to be particularly rapid in urban areas of less developed regions, averaging 2.3 percent per year during 2000-2030, consistent with a doubling time of 30 years.

-- The level of urbanization is considerably lower in less developed regions, where just 40 percent of the population lives today in urban areas. This proportion is expected to rise to 56 percent by 2030.

-- The proportion of people living in very large urban agglomerations is still small. In 2000, 4.3 percent of the world population lived in cities of 10 million inhabitants or more and by 2015 that proportion will rise to 5.2 percent.

-- In 2000, it is estimated that 28.5 percent of the world population will reside in small cities of less than a million inhabitants. By 2015, that proportion will probably rise to 30.6 percent. In 2000, 48 percent of the population in developed countries lived in cities of less than one million inhabitants and by 2015 that proportion is expected to rise to 49 percent.

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