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"Urban zone" redirects here. For other uses, see "Urban zone (disambiguation). <"Urbanized area" redirects here. For use of the term in relation to the United States Census, see "List of United States urban areas.
"Greater Tokyo Area, Japan, the world's most populous urban area, with about 35 million inhabitants

An urban area is a "human settlement with high "population density and "infrastructure of "built environment. Urban areas are "created through "urbanization and are categorized by "urban morphology as "cities, "towns, "conurbations or "suburbs. In "urbanism, the term contrasts to "rural areas such as "villages and "hamlets and in "urban sociology or "urban anthropology it contrasts with "natural environment. The creation of early predecessors of urban areas during the "urban revolution led to the creation of human "civilization with modern "urban planning, which along with other human activities such as "exploitation of natural resources leads to "human impact on the environment.

The world's urban population in 1950 of just 746 million has increased to 3.9 billion in the decades since.[1] In 2009, the number of people living in urban areas (3.42 billion) surpassed the number living in rural areas (3.41 billion) and since then the world has become more urban than rural.[2] This was the first time that the majority of the world's population lived in a city.[3] In 2014 there were 7.25 billion people living on the planet,[4] of which the global urban population comprised 3.9 billion. The Population Division of the "United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs at that time predicted the urban population would grow to 6.4 billion by 2050, with 37% of that growth to come from three countries: "China, "India and "Nigeria.[1]

Urban areas are created and further developed by the process of urbanization. Urban areas are measured for various purposes, including analyzing "population density and "urban sprawl.

Unlike an urban area, a "metropolitan area includes not only the urban area, but also "satellite cities plus intervening rural land that is socio-economically connected to the "urban core city, typically by "employment ties through "commuting, with the urban core city being the primary labor market.



What is urban? Historian John Gurda writes:

I have tried to uncover "Milwaukee's civic bedrock - the shifting foundation on which individuals have built their lives and the community has constructed its identity. There is no doubt that the deepest layer of that bedrock is economic. In every age, people have chosen to live in urban areas not because of their climates or landmarks or cultural attractions, but because they offer jobs. ... It was economic opportunity that brought people to Milwaukee, and it is economic opportunity that keeps them there. I define cities as concentrations of people animated by concentrations of "capital. More simply put, money is the root of all cities.

— John Gurda, The Making of Milwaukee[5]

Official definitions vary somewhat between nations. "European countries define urbanized areas on the basis of urban-type "land use, not allowing any gaps of typically more than 200 metres (220 yd), and use "satellite imagery instead of census blocks to determine the boundaries of the urban area. In less-developed countries, in addition to land use and density requirements, a requirement that a large majority of the population, typically 75%, is not engaged in agriculture and/or fishing is sometimes used.


List of cities in Argentina by population

Argentina is highly urbanized.[6] The ten largest metropolitan areas account for half of the population, and fewer than one in ten live in rural areas. About 3 million people live in Buenos Aires City and the "Greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area totals around 13 million, making it one of the largest urban areas in the world.[7]

The metropolitan areas of "Córdoba, "Rosario, "Mendoza and "Tucumán have around 1.3 million inhabitants each[7] and "La Plata, "Mar del Plata, "Salta and "Santa Fe[7][8] have at least half a million people each.

The population is unequally distributed amongst the provinces: about 60% live in the Pampa region (21% of the total area), including 15 million people in "Buenos Aires Province; "Córdoba Province "Santa Fe Province and the "Autonomous City of Buenos Aires have 3 million each. Seven other provinces have over one million people each: Mendoza, Tucumán, Entre Ríos, Salta, Chaco, Corrientes and Misiones. Tucumán is the most densely populated with 60 per square kilometre (160/sq mi), the only Argentine province more densely populated than the world average, while the southern province of Santa Cruz has around 1 inhabitant per square kilometre (2.6/sq mi).


List of cities in Australia by population

In Australia, urban areas are referred to as "urban centres" and are defined as population clusters of 1,000 or more people, with a density of at least 200/km2 (518/sq mi)[10] Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world, with more than 50% of the population residing in the 5 biggest cities.


List of largest cities in Brazil and "Municipalities of Brazil

According to IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) urban areas already concentrate 84.35% of the population, while the Southeast region remains the most populated one, with over 80 million inhabitants.[12] The largest metropolitan areas in Brazil are São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte — all in the Southeastern Region — with 20, 12, and 5 million inhabitants respectively.[13] The majority of state capitals are the largest cities in their states, except for "Vitória, the capital of "Espírito Santo, and "Florianópolis, the capital of Santa Catarina. There are also non-capital metropolitan areas in the states of São Paulo ("Campinas, "Santos and the "Paraíba Valley), "Minas Gerais ("Steel Valley), Rio Grande do Sul ("Sinos Valley) and Santa Catarina ("Itajaí Valley).[14]

"São Paulo, the largest city in "Brazil, the largest "city proper in the "Southern Hemisphere, in the "Americas, and the world's ninth-largest urban area by population.[15]


List of the 100 largest population centres in Canada

According to "Statistics Canada, an urban area in "Canada is an area with a population of at least 1,000 people where the density is no fewer than 400 persons per square kilometre (1,000/sq mi).[17] If two or more urban areas are within 2 km (1.2 mi) of each other by road, they are merged into a single urban area, provided they do not cross "census metropolitan area or "census agglomeration boundaries.[18]

In the "Canada 2011 Census, Statistics Canada redesignated urban areas with the new term ""population centre";[19] the new term was chosen in order to better reflect the fact that urban vs. rural is not a strict division, but rather a continuum within which several distinct settlement patterns may exist. For example, a community may fit a strictly statistical definition of an urban area, but may not be commonly thought of as "urban" because it has a smaller population, or functions socially and economically as a suburb of another urban area rather than as a self-contained urban entity, or is geographically remote from other urban communities. Accordingly, the new definition set out three distinct types of population centres: small (population 1,000 to 29,999), medium (population 30,000 to 99,999) and large (population 100,000 or greater).[19] Despite the change in terminology, however, the demographic definition of a population centre remains unchanged from that of an urban area: a population of at least 1,000 people where the density is no fewer than 400 persons per km2.


In "Colombia the largest "Metropolitan area is "Bogotá's, which has around 9.8 million of inhabitants and includes municipalities like "Cota, "La Calera, "Chía, "Soacha, "Usaquen, "Suba among others.., it's the metropolis of Culture, Business and Literature, "Bogotá has been the International City of the Book and has places uniques like "Monserrate, "Torre Colpatria, "Bolivar Square, "BD Bacatá, "Corferias, "National University etc.[20][21]


List of cities in China, "List of cities in China by population, and "Metropolitan regions of China

Since 2000, China's cities have expanded at an average rate of 10% annually. It is estimated that China's urban population will increase by 292 million people by 2050,[1] when its cities will house a combined population of over one billion.[22] The country's urbanization rate increased from 17.4% to 46.6% between 1978 and 2009, a scale unprecedented in human history.[23] Between 150 and 200 million "migrant workers work part-time in the major cities, returning home to the countryside periodically with their earnings.[24][25]

Today, China has dozens of cities with one million or more long-term residents, including the three "global cities of Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai; by 2025, the country will be home to 221 cities with over a million inhabitants.[22] The figures in the table below are from the 2008 census, and are only estimates of the urban populations within administrative city limits; a different ranking exists when considering the total municipal populations (which includes suburban and rural populations). The large ""floating populations" of migrant workers make conducting censuses in urban areas difficult;[26] the figures below include only long-term residents.

Panoramic view of "Pudong's Skyline from "the Bund in "Shanghai, the "largest city proper by population in the world.[27]


Urban areas in Finland

Similar to other "Nordic countries, an urban area (taajama in "Finnish) in Finland must have a building at least every 200 metres (660 ft) and at least 200 people. To be considered a "town or a "city (kaupunki) for statistical purposes, an urban area must have at least 15,000 people. This is not to be confused with the city / town designation used by "municipalities.[28][29]


Urban area (France)
The "Galeries Lafayette Department store in central Paris
Lyon, second urban area population in France

In "France, an urban area (Fr: "aire urbaine) is a zone encompassing an area of built-up growth (called an "urban unit" ("unité urbaine)[30] - close in definition to the North American urban area) and its commuter belt ("couronne périurbaine). Americans would find the "INSEE definition of the urban area[31] to be similar to their "metropolitan area, and the INSEE sometimes uses the term aire métropolitaine[32] to refer to the country's largest aires urbaines.

The "largest cities in France, in terms of urban area population (2013), are "Paris (12,405,426), "Lyon (2,237,676), "Marseille (1,734,277), "Toulouse (1,291,517), "Bordeaux (1,178,335), "Lille (1,175,828), "Nice (1,004,826), "Nantes (908,815), "Strasbourg (773,447) and "Rennes (700,675).[33]

Panorama of Paris as seen from the "Eiffel Tower as full 360-degree view (river flowing from north-east to south-west, right to left)


Germany has a number of large "cities. There are 11 officially recognised "metropolitan regions in Germany – and since 2006, 34 potential cities were identified which can be called a "Regiopolis.

The largest "conurbation is the "Rhine-Ruhr region (11.7 million in 2008), including "Düsseldorf (the capital of "North Rhine-Westphalia), "Cologne, "Bonn, "Dortmund, "Essen, "Duisburg, and "Bochum.[34]


"Kolkata, "India

For the Census of India 2011, the definition of urban area is as follows:

  1. All places with a municipality, corporation, cantonment board or notified town area committee, etc.
  2. All other places which satisfied the following criteria:
  1. A minimum population of 5,000;
  2. At least 75% of the male main working population engaged in non-agricultural pursuits; and
  3. A density of population of at least 400 persons per square kilometre (1,000/sq mi)
Panoramic view of "Delhi, the capital of "India

Source: A PDF file named '1. Data Highlight' accessed on 11 April 2012 from Census of India, 2011[35] The figure below is the population statistic for the year 2011. This is a list of city population and it does not indicate urban agglomeration population.


In "Japan urbanized areas are defined as "contiguous areas of densely inhabited districts (DIDs) using "census enumeration districts as units with a density requirement of 4,000 inhabitants per square kilometre (10,000/sq mi).

Panoramic view of "Shinjuku and "Mount Fuji taken from "Bunkyo Civic Center in "Tokyo, the most populous urban area in the world.[37]

The Netherlands[edit]

The Netherlands is the 30th "most densely populated country in the world, with 404.6 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,048/sq mi)—or 497 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,287/sq mi) if only the land area is counted. The "Randstad is the country's largest "conurbation located in the west of the country and contains the four largest cities: Amsterdam in the province "North Holland, "Rotterdam and "The Hague in the province "South Holland, and "Utrecht in the province "Utrecht. The Randstad has a population of 7 million inhabitants and is the "6th largest "metropolitan area in Europe.

New Zealand[edit]

Urban areas of New Zealand

"Statistics New Zealand defines urban areas in New Zealand, which are independent of any administrative subdivisions and have no legal basis.[39] There are three classes of urban area: main urban areas are the 17 urban areas which have a population of 30,000 or more; secondary urban areas are the 14 urban areas which have a population of 10,000 or more but less than 30,000, and minor urban areas are the 103 urban areas which have a population of 1,000 or more but less than 10,000. Urban areas are reclassified after each "Census, so population changes between censuses does not change an urban area's classification. For example, "Rolleston (pop. 13,100) is still classified as a minor urban area because its population was under 10,000 at the 2013 Census.


"Statistics Norway defines urban areas ("tettsteder") similarly to the other Nordic countries. Unlike in Denmark and Sweden, the distance between each building has to be of less than 50 m, although exceptions are made due to parks, industrial areas, rivers, and similar. Groups of houses less than 400 m from the main body of an urban area are included in the urban area.[41]


With an estimated population of 16.3 million, "Metro Manila is the most populous metropolitan area in the "Philippines and the "11th in the world. However, the greater urban area is the "5th largest in the world with a population of 20,654,307 people (2010 estimate).[42] Including "Metro Manila, the "Philippines has twelve metropolitan areas as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). "Metro Angeles, "Metro Bacolod, "Metro Baguio, "Metro Batangas, "Metro Cagayan de Oro, "Metro Cebu, "Metro Dagupan, "Metro Davao, "Metro Iloilo-Guimaras, "Metro Naga, "Metro Olongapo.

As per Republic Act No. 9009, in order to become a city, a local government unit must :

  • locally generated income of at least ₱ 100 million (based on constant prices in the year 2000) for the last two consecutive years, as certified by the Department of Finance, AND
  • a population of 150,000 or more, as certified by the National Statistics Office (NSO); OR a contiguous territory of 100 square kilometers, as certified by the Land Management Bureau, with contiguity not being a requisite for areas that are on two or more islands.


In "Poland, official "urban" population figures simply refer to those localities which have the status of towns (miasta). The "rural" population is that of all areas outside the boundaries of these towns. This distinction may give a misleading impression in some cases, since some localities with only village status may have acquired larger and denser populations than many smaller towns.[43]


In "Russia, only the population residing in "cities/towns and "urban-type settlements is considered to be "urban".["citation needed] The city/town/urban-settlement designation usually means that the majority of the population is employed in areas other than "agriculture,["citation needed] but the exact definitions vary from one "federal subject to another.["citation needed]


"Singapore is an island "city-state in "Southeast Asia. About 5.2 million people live and work within 700 square kilometres (270 sq mi), making Singapore the "3rd-most-densely populated country in the world, after Monaco, another city-state. The "Central Area in the south-eastern part of the island, is the country's city centre. It is surrounded by suburban settlements outside of its limits. These settlements are connected to the Central Area and each other by a dense network of "roads, "expressways and "metro railway lines dubbed "MRT by locals. Singapore has a highly centralised, "unitary government with a "unicameral legislature (the "City Council and the Rural Board were abolished in the 1960s). While there are "town councils and "mayors in Singapore, these are essentially "property managers in charge of the maintenance of "public housing within their "constituency boundaries. They do not represent "local authorities with any "legislative or "executive autonomy from the national government.[44]

South Africa[edit]

South Korea[edit]

The largest cities of "South Korea have an autonomous status equivalent to that of provinces. "Seoul, the largest city and capital, is classified as a teukbyeolsi ("Special City), while the next 6 largest cities (see the list below) are classified as gwangyeoksi (Metropolitan Cities; see "Special cities of South Korea). Smaller cities are classified as si ("cities") and are under provincial jurisdiction, at the same level as counties (see:"Administrative divisions of South Korea).


"Urban areas in Sweden (tätorter) are statistically defined localities, totally independent of the administrative subdivision of the country. There are 1,956 such localities in "Sweden, with a population ranging from 200 to 1,372,000 inhabitants.[46]


List of cities in Taiwan

The figures below are the 2011 estimates for the twenty largest urban populations within administrative city limits; a different ranking exists when considering the total "metropolitan area populations (in such rankings the "Taipei-Keelung metro area is by far the largest agglomeration).

United Kingdom[edit]

List of urban areas in the United Kingdom

The "United Kingdom's "Office for National Statistics has produced census results from urban areas since 1951, since 1981 based upon the extent of irreversible urban development indicated on "Ordnance Survey maps. The definition is an extent of at least 20 ha and at least 1,500 census residents. Separate areas are linked if less than 200 m (220 yd) apart. Included are transportation features.[47] The UK has five Urban Areas with a population over a million and a further sixty nine with a "population over one hundred thousand.

United States[edit]

United States urban area

In the United States, there are two categories of urban area. The term urbanized area denotes an urban area of 50,000 or more people. Urban areas under 50,000 people are called urban clusters. Urbanized areas were first delineated in the United States in the 1950 census, while urban clusters were added in the 2000 census. There are 1,371 "urban areas and urban clusters with more than 10,000 people.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines an urban area as: "Core census block groups or "blocks that have a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile (386 per square kilometer) and surrounding census blocks that have an overall density of at least 500 people per square mile (193 per square kilometer)." [48]

The largest urban area in the United States is the "New York metropolitan area. The population of "New York City, the core of the metropolitan area, exceeds 8.5 million people, its "metropolitan statistical area has a population that is over 20 million, and its "combined statistical area population is over 23 million. The next six largest urban areas in the U.S. are "Los Angeles, "Chicago, "Miami, "Philadelphia, "San Francisco, and "Houston.[49] About 82 percent of the population of the United States lives within the boundaries of an urbanized area as of December, 2010.[50] Combined, these areas occupy about 2 percent of the United States. Many Americans live in "agglomerations of "cities, "suburbs, and "towns that are adjacent to a metropolitan area's largest city.["citation needed]

The "skyscrapers of "New York City, the "most populous city in the United States and the "most populous U.S. metropolitan area, are almost all situated in "Manhattan, seen here in this panorama viewed from "Weehawken, New Jersey, in January 2015. Prominent tall buildings include "One57 and "432 Park Avenue, left of center; the "Empire State Building, right of center; and on the far right of the picture, "One World Trade Center. Near the last mentioned, "Four World Trade Center, "70 Pine Street, the "Woolworth Building, and "40 Wall Street can be seen. At the center of the "skyline picture, the "Chrysler Building, "The New York Times Building, and the "Conde Nast Building can be picked out of the crowd by their "spires.

The concept of Urbanized Areas as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau is often used as a more accurate gauge of the size of a city, since in different cities and states the lines between city borders and the urbanized area of that city are often not the same. For example, the city of "Greenville, South Carolina has a city population just over 64,000 and an urbanized area population of over 400,000, while "Greensboro, North Carolina has a city population just over 285,000 and an urbanized area population of around 310,000 — meaning that Greenville is actually "larger" for some intents and purposes, but not for others, such as taxation, local elections, etc.

In the "U.S. Department of Agriculture's "natural resources inventory, urban areas are officially known as developed areas or urban and built-up areas. Such areas include cities, ethnic villages, other built-up areas of more than 10 ac (4 ha), industrial sites, railroad yards, cemeteries, airports, golf courses, shooting ranges, institutional and public administration sites, and similar areas. The 1997 national resources inventory placed over 98,000,000 ac (40,000,000 ha) in this category, an increase of 25,000,000 ac (10,000,000 ha) since 1982.[51]


List of cities in Vietnam

In Vietnam, there are 6 types of urban areas:

See also[edit]



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  2. ^ "United Nations Population Division - Department of Economic and Social Affairs". 
  3. ^ "Urban population growth". World Health Organization. 
  4. ^ "Current world population". United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Gurda, John (1999). "Foreword". The Making of Milwaukee. Milwaukee County Historical Society. p. vii. 
  6. ^ "Field listing – Urbanization". The World Factbook. CIA. 
  7. ^ a b c "Major Cities". Government of Argentina. Archived from the original on 19 September 2009. 
  8. ^ "Ubicación de la ciudad de salta" (in Spanish). Directorate-General of Tourism, Municipality of the City of Salta. Archived from the original on 2010-01-17. 
  9. ^ "Encuesta Permanente de Hogares" (PDF). Indec. 23 August 2015. p. 3. 
  10. ^ "1216.0 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), 2001". "Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 
  11. ^ "3218.0 – Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2013-14". "Australian Bureau of Statistics. 30 June 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  12. ^ "IDBGE" (in Portuguese). IBGE. 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  13. ^ 2008 PNAD, IBGE. "População residente por situação, sexo e grupos de idade."
  14. ^ "Principal Cities". Encarta. MSN. Archived from the original on 31 October 2009. Retrieved 2008-06-10. ["dubious ]
  15. ^ "RMSP supera 20 milhões de habitantes, calcula Seade – economia – geral – Estadão". Estadao.com.br. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  16. ^ "IBGE releases population estimates for municipalities in 2016". "IBGE. 2016-08-30. Retrieved 2016-08-31. 
  17. ^ "Urban area (UA)". Statistics Canada. 2009-11-20. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  18. ^ "More information on Urban area (UA)". Statistics Canada. 2009-11-20. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  19. ^ a b "From urban areas to population centres". "Statistics Canada, May 5, 2011.
  20. ^ Duncan Smith. "World City Populations 1950 - 2030". Retrieved 18 December 2015. 
  21. ^ "Bright lights, big cities. Urbanisation and the rise of the megacity". economist.com. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  22. ^ a b "Preparing for China's urban billion". McKinsey Global Institute. February 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  23. ^ "China urbanization (PDF)" (PDF). World Bank Institute. 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  24. ^ Harney, Alexandra (3 February 2008). "Migrants are China's 'factories without smoke'". CNN. Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  25. ^ Tschang, Chi-Chu (4 February 2009). "A Tough New Year for China's Migrant Workers". Business Week. Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  26. ^ Francesco Sisci. "China's floating population a headache for census". The Straits Times. 22 September 2000.
  27. ^ "Cities: largest (without surrounding suburban areas)". Geohive. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  28. ^ "Locality - Concepts". Statistics Finland. 
  29. ^ "Alueluokkien kuvaukset". Ymparisto. 
  30. ^ "Nomenclatures Définitions — Méthodes — Unité urbaine" (in French). Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  31. ^ "Nomenclatures Définitions — Méthodes — Aire urbaine" (in French). Retrieved 2007-07-07. 
  32. ^ "Un maillage du territoire français" (in French). Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  33. ^ "Résultats de la recherche - Insee". 
  34. ^ "Regionales Monitoring 2010 - Daten und Karten zu den Europäischen Metropolregionen in Deutschland" (PDF) (in German). Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung. 2010. p. 10. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  35. ^ http://www.censusindia.gov.in/2011-prov-results/paper2-vol2/data_files/India2/1.%20Data%20Highlight.pdf
  36. ^ Cities having population 1 lakh and above, Census 2011
  37. ^ "The world's biggest cities: How do you measure them?". BBC News. 29 January 2012. 
  38. ^ Statistics Netherlands.
  39. ^ "Urban area: Definition". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  40. ^ "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2016 (provisional)". "Statistics New Zealand. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016.  For urban areas, "Subnational population estimates (UA, AU), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996, 2001, 2006-16 (2017 boundary)". "Statistics New Zealand. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  41. ^ "Population statistics. Population and land area in urban settlements, 1 January 2008". Statistics Norway. June 20, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  42. ^ "World: metropolitan areas". World Gazetteer. Retrieved 2010-01-22. 
  43. ^ Polish official population figures
  44. ^ "What are the functions and duties of a town council?". Singapore Legal Advice. Retrieved August 14, 2016. 
  45. ^ "2015년 인구주택총조사 전수집계결과 보도자료" [2015 Population and Housing Census]. Statistics Korea. 
  46. ^ "Fortsatt stor ökning av befolkning i tätorter". "Statistics Sweden. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  47. ^ KS01 Usual resident population: Census 2001, Key Statistics for urban areas
    For the OS definition of an Urban Area, see the notes tab on the Excel version.
  48. ^ "The Urban and Rural Classifications" (PDF). Geographic Areas Reference Manual. United States Census Bureau. 
  49. ^ United States Census Bureau 2010 Census Urban Area List http://www2.census.gov/geo/ua/ua_list_ua.xls 2010 Census Urban Area List. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  50. ^ [1] - accessed January, 2012
  51. ^  This article incorporates "public domain material from the "Congressional Research Service document [http://ncseonline.org/nle/crsreports/05jun /97-905.pdf "Report for Congress: Agriculture: A Glossary of Terms, Programs, and Laws, 2005 Edition"] by Jasper Womach.

External links[edit]

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