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World Urbanization Prospects


  • Philippe Bocquier

    (Université catholique de Louvain)


This paper proposes to critically examine the United Nations projections on urbanisation. Both the estimates of current trends based on national data and the method of projection are evaluated. The theory of mobility transition is used as an alternative hypothesis. Projections are proposed using a polynomial model and compared to the UN projections, which are based on a linear model. The conclusion is that UN projections may overestimate the urban population for the year 2030 by almost one billion, or 19% in relative term. The overestimation would be particularly more pronounced for developing countries and may exceed 30% in Africa, India and Oceania.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Bocquier, 2005. "World Urbanization Prospects," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 12(9), pages 197-236, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:12:y:2005:i:9

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Davis, James C. & Henderson, J. Vernon, 2003. "Evidence on the political economy of the urbanization process," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 98-125, January.
    2. Cohen, Barney, 2004. "Urban Growth in Developing Countries: A Review of Current Trends and a Caution Regarding Existing Forecasts," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 23-51, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. World Bank, 2009. "The Urban Transition in Tanzania," World Bank Other Operational Studies 18604, The World Bank.
    2. Neil Brenner & Christian Schmid, 2014. "The ‘Urban Age’ in Question," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(3), pages 731-755, May.
    3. World Bank, 2009. "Mozambique - Municipal Development in Mozambique : Lessons from the First Decade - Full report," World Bank Other Operational Studies 3102, The World Bank.
    4. Yeboah, F. Kwame & Jayne, T.S., 2016. "Africa’s Evolving Employment Structure," Food Security International Development Working Papers 246956, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    5. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Günther Fink & Tarun Khanna & Patrick Salyer, 2007. "Urban Settlement: Data, Measures, and Trends," PGDA Working Papers 2907, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
    6. Jayne, T. S. & Holtzman, John S. & Yeboah, Felix Kwame & Anderson, Jock R. & Oehmke, James F., 2016. "Agri-Food Systems and Youth Livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa," Food Security International Development Working Papers 249276, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    7. Headey, Derek & Bezemer, Dirk & Hazell, Peter B., 2008. "Agricultural exit problems: Causes and consequences," IFPRI discussion papers 802, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Mathias Lerch, 2017. "Urban and rural fertility transitions in the developing world: a cohort perspective," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2017-011, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    9. Sandrine Mesplé-Somps & Charlotte Guénard, 2006. "Measuring Inequalities: Do The Surveys Give The Real Picture? Study Of Two Surveys In Cote D’Ivoire And Madagascar," Working Papers 18, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    10. Potts, Deborah, 2012. "Challenging the Myths of Urban Dynamics in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Evidence from Nigeria," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 1382-1393.

    More about this item


    developed countries; developing countries; environment; model; poverty; projections; urban transition; urbanization;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General


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