Urban Population

 

Up to the Industrial Revolution people all over the world lived mainly in the countryside. In 1800, only 3 % of the world’s population lived in cities. In 1900 only 12 cities had more than 1 million people.

Today, about half of the world’s population lives in urban areas. There are over 400 cities with more than a million people. In developed countries, up to 70 % or more live in larger cities, whereas in poorer countries this rate is below 40 %.

During the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century cities grew fast, especially in Europe and North America, because new industries were created there and people found many jobs . Later on cities grew more slowly because they became overcrowded and diseases could spread faster. Today death rates in cites are low because they have better doctors and more hospitals.

In industrialized countries the growth of cities has stopped. New York and London grew very quickly during the 1800s and early 1900s, but since then their growth has slowed down.

African and Asian cities like Lagos, Bombay or Calcutta are growing rapidly and this will probably continue during the next years. About 40 cities around the world have a population of over 5 million . They are called megacities . 80% of them are in poorer countries.

People go to the cities for many reasons. The table shows you what pulls them to the cities and what pushes them away from the countryside.

 

Pull factors

  • more and better jobs
  • better hospitals and health care
  • better living standards
  • cities are social and financial centres
  • better education—schools and universities

 

Push factors

  • too many people in the countryside
  • low income
  • not enough raw materials (water, wood etc..)
  • the quality of farming land is getting worse


 

Biggest Cities in the World

(population in greater city area in millions)

Tokyo

Japan

34

Mexico City

Mexico

23

Seoul

South Korea

22

New York

USA

21

Sao Paolo

Brazil

20

Mumbai

India

19

Delhi

India

19

Shanghai

China

18

Los Angeles

USA

18

Jakarta

Indonesia

16

 

 

The World's Biggest Cities

The World's Biggest Cities

 

World Population- Table of Contents

 

Downloadable PDF Text- and Worksheets

 

Online Exercises

 

Related Topics

 

Words

  • century = a hundred years
  • create = make
  • death rate = shows the number of deaths for every 1,000 people in a year
  • developed = here: industrialized
  • disease = illness
  • especially =above all
  • growth =how something grows or gets bigger
  • health care =the system that looks after the health of all people in a country
  • income = the money you get for your work
  • industries = here : factories
  • living standard = the way people live and how much money they have
  • mainly =mostly
  • megacity = very big city with millions of people
  • overcrowded = a place with too many people
  • probably =likely, you expect something to happen
  • pull =draw towards you
  • push =move away from you
  • rapid = fast
  • rate =here: number
  • raw material = things that exist in nature and can be used by people ; like coal, oil or wood
  • reason =explanation, why something happens
  • social =easy to meet people and form relationships
  • slow down = become slower
  • spread =move to other places
  • urban = everything that has to do with cities
  • whereas =but, while