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A Chart That Explains the Path to a Global Urban Majority

Which countries became at least half urban the fastest?

A Chart That Explains the Path to a Global Urban Majority

Which countries became at least half urban the fastest?
relates to A Chart That Explains the Path to a Global Urban Majority
Reuters
relates to A Chart That Explains the Path to a Global Urban Majority
Reuters

It's been a few years since the majority of the world's population shifted to cities. But, of course, this urban majority didn't all happen at once.

A new report out from the Asian Development Bank has a special chapter on "Green Urbanization in Asia." While there's a lot of interesting information there, one chart stood out. As you can see below, this chart tracks the time it has taken for the populations of various parts of the world to go from roughly 10 percent urban to 50 percent urban.

Not every place on this chart has actually crossed the threshold; not yet, anyway. Asia and the Pacific region, for example, won't reach an urban majority until 2025. For those places that haven't yet made it, they will soon. (The original chart had some inaccurate bar lengths and dates, but we've gone in and fixed those mistakes.)

relates to A Chart That Explains the Path to a Global Urban Majority

Below, we've ranked each of the countries and regions in this chart by how quickly they've passed the 50 percent mark, and included the year it happened or will.

CountryTime to Urban MajorityYear
Bhutan55 years2035
Laos60 years2030
China61 years2011
Indonesia65 years2015
Vietnam90 years2020
Asia and the Pacific95 years2025
North America105 years1930
Europe150 years1950
Latin America and the Caribbean210 years1960


Photo credit: Bobby Yip/Reuters