Earth Will Tilt Urban by the End of ’08

Earth from space

By the end of this year, more than half the world's people will be living in cities, for the first time in history.

The United Nations' Population Division reported its projections this week. Haina Zlotnik, divsion director, said that 70% of the people in North America and Europe are already city dwellers. "But only 39 percent of Africans and 41 percent of Asians lived in urban areas last year — and these regions and other less developed countries are going to experience the most population growth in their cities and towns in the coming decades."

The U.N. researchers expect that urbanization will continue to intensify: "The world rural population is projected to start decreasing in about a decade, and 600 million fewer rural inhabitants are expected in 2050 than today."

The Chinese population is migrating into cities most dramatically; India "is expected to remain the country with the largest rural population during most of the future decades," Zlotinik reported. She added the hope that increasing urbanization "will go hand in hand with economic growth."