Urbanization, urbanisation or urban drift is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change. Urbanization is also defined by the United Nations as movement of people from rural to urban areas with population growth equating to urban migration.

Close to 180,000 people move into cities daily, adding roughly 60 million new urban dwellers each year. (Source: Intuit, October 2010.)

By 2050, the global urban population is expected to be 6.3 billion, or 70% of the population at that time. (Source: UN, 2009.)

Harnessing Urbanization for Growth and Poverty Alleviation

By 2030, China will have an urban population of 1 billion, and India 590 million. Currently, Europe’s urban population is 533 million. (Source: McKinsey forecast & UN data, 2009-10.)

By 2030, China will have 221 cities with more than 1 million people, and India will have 68. In 2010, Europe has 35. During this period, 400 million Chinese and 215 million Indian will move to urban areas, more than the population of the US and Brazil combined. (Source: Foreign Policy, August 2010.)

One more nugget: In January 2011, Chinese city planners proposed merging the nine cities around the Pearl River Delta into a single metropolitan area, containing some 42 million people: more than Argentina, and covering an area 26 times bigger than Greater London. (Source: Reuters, January 2011.)

Indian cities are forecast to generate 70% of new jobs created to 2030, produce more than 70% of Indian GDP, and drive a near fourfold increase in per capita incomes across the nation. By 2030, India will have 91 million urban, middle class households, up from 22 million in 2010. (Source: McKinsey Global Institute, April 2010.)

China’s Academy of Sciences estimated that for every 1% increase in urbanization, China can expect a 1.6% increase in the contribution made by domestic demand to China’s GDP. (Source: Deloitte, June 2010.)

Shanghai’s economy represents over 13% of China’s total GDP, despite having less than 2% of the population. (Source: UN Habitat, 2010.)

The number of African households with discretionary income is projected to rise by 50 percent over the next 10 years, reaching 128 million. By 2030, the continents’ top 18 cities could have a combined spending power of USD 1.3 trillion. (Source: McKinsey, June 2010.)

Cities As Engines Of Economic Growth (World Bank Institute)

Delhi, Shanghai, São Paulo and Moscow are each expected to reach a GDP in excess of USD 500 billion by 2025—more than the GDP of entire nations such as Indonesia or Belgium today. (Source: McKinsey, December 2010.)

The result? A global emerging middle class numbering some 2 billion, who currently spend USD 6.9 trillion a year. Over the next decade, this is forecast to increase to USD 20 trillion, double current US consumption. (Source: McKinsey, July 2010.)

The average Manhattanite household spends 59% of their USD 13,079 food budget on dining out, compared to the average American household that spends only 42% of their USD 6,514 food budget on dining out. (Source: Bundle, May 2010.)

Even four years ago, Harris identified ‘Urban Hustlers’ (who comprise 21% of US consumers aged 12-34), spend close to USD 9 billion (10% of their annual spending), on recreational activities. Urban Hustlers are spending, on average, over USD 100 more than the non-urban population monthly, with their overall discretionary spending reaches USD 383 per month. (Source: Harris Interactive, June 2007.)

The lifestyle of urban Chinese consumers has changed from a “survive” mentality to an “enjoy life” one, with 54% now pursuing a more fun lifestyle. (Source: GfK Roper, 2010.)

Only 17% of Chinese urban dwellers say they are ‘reluctant to spend money’. (Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, August 2010.)


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