Urbanisation is increase in number of people living in cities. It is the process by which cities grow.

Urbanisation affects all sizes of settlements from small villages to towns, to cities and growth to megacities.

Today, there is no doubt that the world has increase to become urban.

The 20th century witnessed rapid and unprecedented urbanization of world population.

The global urban population increased to 13% in 1900, 29% in 1950 and 49% in 2005.  It is estimated that by 2030, 60% of the world population will live in cities.

The growth is reflection of increase from 220 million in 1900 to 732 million in 1950. It is expected that there will be 4.9 billion urban dwellers in 2030.

There will be increase of population in all regions of the world. Majority of this population growth will be in lower income regions of Africa and Asia

According to UNDESA. In 1960 the global urban population was 34%, in 2014 54% and continues to grow. By 2050 urban population is expected to reach 66%.

The process of urbanization affects all sizes of settlements. So villages grow to small towns, to larger towns and to cities. This has led to megacities. A megacity is an urban area with population of more than 10 million.

The rapid increase in urban population lead to emergence of peri- urban. Peri- urban areas are those settlements immediately around a city or town.

The peri-urban are areas in transition to city (rural to urban) often with underdeveloped infrastructures.

Where health and sanitation services are under pressure and the natural environment is at risk of degradation


 Characteristics of urbanization are:

The criteria for classifying an area as urban may base on one or combination of factors such as human population. Number of employment in non-agricultural sector. Infrastructural development in areas of tarred road, electricity and health services.

Urbanisation is integrally connected to the three pillars of sustenable development, economic development and environmental protection.

In developing countries, urbanization usually occurs through rural migration to urban.

Rural migration is the movement of people from villages to towns and cities.

The major causes of migration are:

Economic growth and development.

Technological changes.

Conflicts and Social disorder. Example in Nigeria are;-  Fulani herdsmen attack, banditry, kidnapping and ritual.

Employment opportunities.

High wages / income.

Education: Limited education opportunities.

Poverty: Poor living condition.

Lack of paid employment and economic opportunities.

Poor health care.

Environmental changes such as drought, flood, etc.

 Lack of productive lands.




The factors militating against migration are:-

Age: Old people find it difficult to migrate than youths.

Gender: Woman are more restricted to migration than men.

Factors that give rise to urbanization

Some other factors that give rise to urbanization are:

High birth rate and low mortality.

In Nigeria, urbanization in city like Lagos have annual growth rate of 5.8% demography, without significant socio-economic dividends and benefits to urban environment.

Benefits and Advantages of Urbanisation

Thriving towns, cities and megacities are essential elements of a natural economy.

Therefore, urbanization has been associated with significant economic and social transformation.

Location of economic and human resources in one place stimulates innovation and development in business, science, technology and industry.

Access to high level of education and literacy.

Access to health and better health facilities.

Access to social and cultural activities are more  readily available to people in cities than villages.

Lower birth rate’

Longer life expectancy.

Opportunities for political and cultural participation.

High population makes it easy for government to provide information, utilities, essential goods and services.

Availability of advanced communication and transportation.



The Disadvantages / Problems of urban growth 

 Urban growth is associated with many disadvantages and problems, which include:

Housing deficit: More than one third of urban population in third world and developing countries live in impoverished or slums and squatter settlements. Example, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A report in 2008 found out that 80% of the houses in the city were classified as slums due to physical deterioration of it’s housing, overcrowding, high density population, poor access and lack of infrastructural facilities.

Inadequate water supply.

None or little sewage and solid waste disposal, leading to polluted and degraded local environment.

Poor health system.

Poor education services.

High level of pollution.

Pressure on food supply.

Urbanization is growing faster in Africa and Asia. In Africa is expected to be 56%. While 64% in Asia respectively by the year 2050.

Three countries projected to account for 37% of the world population are Nigeria, India and China.

Urbanisation if well managed, will reduce hardship and suffering.

Some laws need to be amended to change the status of poor urban settlements.

Lastly, with political will and good urban renewal policies will make urban societies sustainable and promote healthy living.



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