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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Most people to live in cities by 2008

The number of people living in cities will surpass those living in rural areas for the first time around mid-2008, a year later than previously forecast, a UN official has said.
''A quick back-of-the envelope calculation yields August 16, 2008, as the day there will be as many urban dwellers as rural dwellers,'' said Thomas Buettner, head of the estimates and projection section at the U.N. Population Division.

The urban and rural populations would then each total 3,349,383,005 people, he told sources yesterday, adding that there were wide uncertainties about the data.
Urban populations have been growling more quickly than rural areas for decades, particularly in developing countries, due to the greater availability of jobs and freer lifestyles.
In 2005, the United Nations forecast that half the world's people would be living in cities by 2007. Buettner said the date had been put back because of new information from national censuses.

''The adjustments are not indicating a change in the trends,'' Buettner said, adding that urban dwellers now made up 49 per cent of the world population.
The 2005 report said that 20 cities now have 10 million or more inhabitants, compared with just four, Tokyo, New York-Newark, Shanghai and Mexico City, in 1975 and just two, New York-Newark and Tokyo, in 1950.

Buettner said the rural population would continue to grow until 2019 but at a slower rate than the urban population.


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