World population more urban than rural

May 30, 2007 - 0:0
Half of the world population now live in the cities after a major demographic shift took place on May 23. For the first time in human history, the earth's population is more urban than rural.

Scientists from North Carolina State University and the University of Georgia predicted the world would be 51.3 percent urban by 2010, based on the average daily rural and urban population increases from 2005 to 2010. The scientists made a conclusion that May 23 would become a transition day when the global urban population of 3,303,992,253 will exceed that of 3,303,866,404 rural people.

Publishing their estimates, the scientists advise avoiding the urge to interpret this demographic transition to mean that the urban population has greater importance than the rural. Urban and rural populations, the experts say, rely heavily on each other.

Cities refine and process rural goods for urban and rural consumers. "As long as cities exist, they will need rural resources -- including the rural people and communities that help provide urban necessities," one of the scientists said. "Clean air, water, food, fiber, forest products and minerals all have their sources in rural areas. Cities cannot stand alone; rural natural resources can. Cities must depend on rural resources."

Although rural natural and social resources are necessary for urban people and places, the researchers say rural people do not fare well relative to their urban counterparts. (Source: