Improving Population Health in a Rapidly Urbanizing World
All authors:
as above
Host organisation: CoE New York, USA
Publication year: 2010
Published in:
Urban Health perspectives vulnerable Populations
Research theme: Mobility and Access
Population health, Africa, Asia, population growth, urban poor, urbanizing
Book chapter
In 2008, for the first time in history more than half of the world´s population (over 3.3 billion people) was classified as living in urbanized places as distinct from rural areas. By 2025, 57 percent of the population will live in urban settings. By 2050, the urban population will be an estimated 6.4 billion people — or almost 70 percent of the world´s predicted total population of approximately 9 billion. It will be the urbanizing areas in the developing world1 that will absorb almost all of this growth. Over the next four decades, the urban population of these places is expected to increase by more than 120 percent (from 2.4 billion in 2007 to 5.3 billion in 2050).2 Urban population growth is expected to be most rapid in Africa and Asia, which are currently only about 40 percent urban (United Nations Population Division, 2008). This global urban transformation and its most rapid advance in the least developed portions of the world means that unless measures are taken to reduce gaping inequalities accompanying this urban transformation, much of urban population growth will result in a significant increase of the number of urban poor, many of whom will live in slums. About one billion people already live in slums today. These are places of concentrated extreme disadvantage, which concentrate health risks. The health of populations on our rapidly urbanizing planet depends to a large extent on how we address the issue of urban poverty to achieve health equity. To begin, we need to more fully understand the ways that urban life aggravates or mitigates threats to population health.
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