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A Chart That Explains the Path to a Global Urban Majority

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.)


Source: Asian Development Bank, Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2012, modified by The Atlantic Cities.

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.

Country Time to Urban Majority Year
Bhutan 55 years 2035
Laos 60 years 2030
China 61 years 2011
Indonesia 65 years 2015
Vietnam 90 years 2020
Asia and the Pacific 95 years 2025
North America 105 years 1930
Europe 150 years 1950
Latin America and the Caribbean 210 years 1960


Photo credit: Bobby Yip/Reuters

Nate Berg is a freelance reporter and a former staff writer for The Atlantic Cities. He lives in Los Angeles. All posts »

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