Most Urbanized Countries 2022

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Urbanization refers to the process of a country's population becoming more urban over time, with the percentage of people who live in cities growing more quickly than the percentage who live in rural areas. This results in a more urban society overall, which requires adaptation from both rural communities and urban dwellers. Urbanization is the primary process through which cities form and grow. The world’s population has increased rapidly from 751 million in 1950 to an estimated 7.87 billion in 2021, According to the United Nations (UN), approximately 55% of whom lived in urban areas as of 2018. This percentage is expected to grow to 68% by 2050, adding about 2.5 billion people to urban areas around the world. It is also projected that 90% of this increase will take place in Asia and Africa.

Urbanization causes unique issues for both humans and the environment, particularly if a country's population grows more quickly than its infrastructure. One of the main issues is environmental degradation. For example, emissions from factories, power plants, and motor vehicles can decrease air quality. Meanwhile, increased volumes of organic and inorganic waste can create safety and health problems. Moreover, rapid population growth can increase poverty, already a pressing issue in many nations. These challenges can be overcome, however—with effort. Job creation and economic development can overcome poverty, green policies and alternative energy systems can control pollution, and trees and green spaces can help improve air quality and preserve the environment.

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Urbanization Rates:

  1. Burundi — 5.43%
  2. Uganda — 5.41%
  3. Syria — 5.38%
  4. Tanzania — 4.89%
  5. Burkina Faso — 4.75%
  6. Niger — 4.72%
  7. Mali — 4.57%
  8. Malawi — 4.41%
  9. Ethiopia — 4.40%
  10. DR Congo — 4.33%

The majority of countries with the lowest urban populations are located in Africa—however, as the data above indicate, many of these countries are also experiencing the highest rates of urbanization. For example, Burundi’s urban population is 14.4% of its total population, which is quite low—however, its urbanization rate is a blistering 5.43%, the highest in the world. Similarly, Uganda’s urban population is 26.2%, but the country is urbanizing at a rate of 5.41%. Many of these countries are among the most underdeveloped or least developed in the world.

Urbanization and its relation to Human Development Index (HDI)

Higher or lower urbanization rates do not necessarily correlate to a country's rank on the Human Development Index. For example, Hong Kong is classified as 100% urbanized (see below), as the overwhelming majority of its residents live in a city environment. However, Sweden, a country that is considered highly advanced, has a fairly low urbanization percentage because most Swedish cities are fairly small and not as densely populated, with the exception of some of their large towns, such as Stockholm or Gothenburg. Both countries rank very highly on the HDI, despite the stark difference in their levels of urbanization.

Countries with 100% urban populations:

Most countries with a 100% urban population have low or negative urbanization rates, ranging from 1.78% to -0.44%, simply because there are so few people left living outside the city that the population is, for all intents and purposes, already fully urbanized. Negative urbanization rates are known as counterurbanization or deurbanization.

Counterurbanization has many possible causes. Typically, people leave the city in search of something, which may be new job opportunities, a simpler lifestyle, more space, a decreased cost of living, cleaner air, or a less-urban culture.

Urbanization vs gentrification

Urbanization is often confused with or used interchangeably with gentrification, a related but distinct term. Urbanization centers around the modernization of an area, turning a mildly organized jumble of houses into a well-connected town that’s accessible and creates community in the most current sense of the word. Gentrification, by comparison, is the process of making neighborhoods that have historically been regarded as undesirable into more upscale and sought-after areas. This is typically accomplished by attracting more affluent residents and upscale businesses, as well as adding the infrastructure (adequate roads, police, utilities, etc.) necessary to support them. Gentrification is frequently criticized by detractors who maintain that it homogenizes a neighborhood's unique character and displaces its original residents.

Most Urbanized Countries 2022

Country Urban population 2022 Urbanization rate 2020-25 2022 Population
Vatican City100.00%0.00%799
Nauru100.00%0.18%10,903
Anguilla100.00%0.47%15,230
Gibraltar100.00%0.45%33,704
Monaco100.00%0.50%39,783
Sint Maarten100.00%1.16%43,966
Bermuda100.00%-0.20%61,939
Cayman Islands100.00%1.13%67,277
Macau100.00%1.46%667,490
Kuwait100.00%1.35%4,380,326
Singapore100.00%0.74%5,943,546
Hong Kong100.00%0.58%7,604,299
Qatar99.30%1.66%2,979,915
Belgium98.20%0.38%11,668,278
San Marino97.70%0.41%34,085
United States Virgin Islands96.10%-0.11%103,971
Uruguay95.70%0.40%3,496,016
Guam95.10%0.84%171,519
Malta94.90%0.28%444,033
Turks And Caicos Islands94.00%1.46%39,741
Iceland94.00%0.74%345,393
Puerto Rico93.60%-0.12%2,829,812
Netherlands92.90%0.59%17,211,447
Israel92.80%1.51%8,922,892
Argentina92.30%0.97%46,010,234
Northern Mariana Islands92.00%0.36%58,269
Japan92.00%-0.25%125,584,838
Luxembourg91.90%1.43%642,371
Jordan91.80%0.98%10,300,869
Gabon90.70%2.27%2,331,533
Saint Pierre And Miquelon90.00%0.75%5,759
Bahrain89.70%1.99%1,783,983
Lebanon89.30%-1.23%6,684,849
Curacao89.00%0.57%165,529
Sweden88.50%0.89%10,218,971
Denmark88.40%0.54%5,834,950
Venezuela88.40%1.16%29,266,991
Chile87.90%0.78%19,250,195
Andorra87.80%0.11%77,463
Oman87.80%2.32%5,323,993
Greenland87.70%0.41%56,973
Brazil87.60%0.87%215,353,593
United Arab Emirates87.50%1.50%10,081,785
American Samoa87.20%0.26%55,030
New Zealand86.90%0.92%4,898,203
Australia86.50%1.27%26,068,792
Finland85.70%0.42%5,554,960
Saudi Arabia84.70%1.69%35,844,909
United Kingdom84.40%0.80%68,497,907
Dominican Republic83.80%1.64%11,056,370
Norway83.70%1.32%5,511,370
Bahamas83.50%1.02%400,516
United States83.10%0.96%334,805,269
Palau82.00%1.59%18,233
Costa Rica82.00%1.50%5,182,354
Colombia82.00%1.01%51,512,762
Canada81.80%0.95%38,388,419
France81.50%0.67%65,584,518
South Korea81.40%0.31%51,329,899
Libya81.30%1.45%7,040,745
Spain81.30%0.24%46,719,142
Mexico81.30%1.40%131,562,772
Greece80.40%0.11%10,316,637
Belarus80.30%0.28%9,432,800
Taiwan79.70%0.65%23,888,595
Falkland Islands79.30%0.53%3,539
Brunei78.90%1.44%445,431
Peru78.70%1.33%33,684,208
Marshall Islands78.50%0.61%60,057
Djibouti78.40%1.56%1,016,097
Malaysia78.20%1.87%33,181,072
Germany77.60%0.13%83,883,596
Cuba77.40%0.19%11,305,652
Palestine77.30%2.85%5,345,541
Turkey77.00%1.11%85,561,976
Iran76.80%1.32%86,022,837
Bulgaria76.40%-0.28%6,844,597
Cook Islands75.90%0.52%17,571
Sao Tome And Principe75.80%2.96%227,679
Russia75.10%0.11%145,805,947
El Salvador74.80%1.33%6,550,389
Algeria74.80%1.99%45,350,148
Czech Republic74.40%0.20%10,736,784
Switzerland74.10%0.79%8,773,637
Equatorial Guinea74.00%3.62%1,496,662
Hungary72.60%0.05%9,606,259
New Caledonia72.30%1.72%290,915
Botswana72.20%2.47%2,441,162
Dominica71.70%0.84%72,344
Italy71.70%0.27%60,262,770
Iraq71.40%2.91%42,164,965
Bolivia70.80%1.87%11,992,656
Tunisia70.20%1.34%12,046,656
Ukraine69.90%-0.27%43,192,122
Estonia69.60%0.03%1,321,910
Panama69.10%1.92%4,446,964
Mongolia68.90%1.40%3,378,078
Republic of the Congo68.70%3.19%5,797,805
Latvia68.50%-0.68%1,848,837
Lithuania68.50%-0.12%2,661,708
South Africa68.30%1.72%60,756,135
Montenegro68.20%0.45%627,950
Angola68.10%4.04%35,027,343
Cape Verde67.50%1.83%567,678
Portugal67.40%0.44%10,140,570
Cyprus66.90%0.76%1,223,387
Suriname66.30%0.88%596,831
Tuvalu65.50%2.08%12,066
Ecuador64.60%1.62%18,113,361
Morocco64.60%1.88%37,772,756
Ireland64.20%1.15%5,020,199
Gambia63.90%3.75%2,558,482
Albania63.80%1.29%2,866,374
Armenia63.60%0.23%2,971,966
China63.60%1.78%1,448,471,400
North Korea62.90%0.85%25,990,679
Paraguay62.80%1.64%7,305,843
French Polynesia62.20%0.65%284,164
Georgia60.30%0.35%3,968,738
Poland60.10%-0.16%37,739,785
Nicaragua59.60%1.45%6,779,100
Honduras59.60%2.48%10,221,247
Austria59.30%0.68%9,066,710
North Macedonia59.10%0.61%2,081,304
Haiti58.80%2.47%11,680,283
Cameroon58.70%3.43%27,911,548
Ghana58.60%3.06%32,395,450
Seychelles58.40%0.99%99,426
Fiji58.20%1.37%909,466
Croatia58.20%0.05%4,059,286
Kazakhstan58.00%1.19%19,205,043
Indonesia57.90%1.99%279,134,505
Azerbaijan57.20%1.38%10,300,205
Kiribati57.10%2.77%123,419
Jamaica57.00%0.79%2,985,094
Mauritania56.90%3.84%4,901,981
Serbia56.90%0.04%8,653,016
Syria56.80%5.38%19,364,809
Slovenia55.80%0.54%2,078,034
Romania54.50%-0.15%19,031,335
Namibia54.00%3.64%2,633,874
Saint Vincent And the Grenadines53.90%0.94%111,551
Slovakia53.90%0.17%5,460,193
Turkmenistan53.50%2.23%6,201,943
Nigeria53.50%3.92%216,746,934
Isle of Man53.30%0.97%85,732
Trinidad And Tobago53.30%0.23%1,406,585
Liberia53.10%3.41%5,305,117
Thailand52.90%1.43%70,078,203
Guatemala52.70%2.59%18,584,039
Ivory Coast52.70%3.38%27,742,298
Uzbekistan50.50%1.25%34,382,084
Bosnia And Herzegovina49.80%0.61%3,249,317
Benin49.50%3.74%12,784,726
British Virgin Islands49.30%1.73%30,596
Senegal49.10%3.59%17,653,671
Philippines48.00%2.04%112,508,994
Niue47.60%1.43%1,622
Somalia47.30%4.20%16,841,795
DR Congo46.80%4.33%95,240,792
Belize46.40%2.30%412,190
Zambia45.80%4.15%19,470,234
Mali45.40%4.57%21,473,764
Guinea Bissau45.00%3.22%2,063,367
Aruba44.10%0.77%107,609
Togo43.90%3.60%8,680,837
Sierra Leone43.80%3.02%8,306,436
Bhutan43.70%2.52%787,941
Moldova43.20%0.09%4,013,171
Central African Republic43.10%3.32%5,016,678
Egypt43.00%1.90%106,156,692
Faroe Islands42.80%0.89%49,233
Eritrea42.60%3.67%3,662,244
Maldives41.50%2.34%540,985
Mauritius40.80%0.28%1,274,727
Madagascar39.90%4.26%29,178,077
Bangladesh39.70%2.88%167,885,689
Yemen39.20%3.71%31,154,867
Vietnam38.80%2.70%98,953,541
Mozambique38.20%4.24%33,089,461
Guinea37.70%3.64%13,865,691
Pakistan37.70%2.10%229,488,994
Laos37.60%2.99%7,481,023
Kyrgyzstan37.50%2.05%6,728,271
Grenada36.90%0.86%113,475
Tanzania36.70%4.89%63,298,550
Sudan36.00%3.43%45,992,020
India35.90%2.33%1,406,631,776
Zimbabwe32.40%2.41%15,331,428
Timor Leste32.10%3.31%1,369,429
Burkina Faso31.90%4.75%22,102,838
Myanmar31.80%1.85%55,227,143
Barbados31.30%0.46%288,023
Saint Kitts And Nevis31.00%1.06%53,871
Comoros29.90%2.97%907,419
Lesotho29.90%2.77%2,175,699
Kenya29.00%4.09%56,215,221
Tajikistan28.00%2.73%9,957,464
Guyana27.00%1.01%794,045
Afghanistan26.60%3.34%40,754,388
Uganda26.20%5.41%48,432,863
Vanuatu25.80%2.55%321,832
Solomon Islands25.60%3.57%721,159
Cambodia25.10%3.06%17,168,639
Eswatini24.60%2.42%1,184,817
Antigua And Barbuda24.30%0.87%99,509
Chad24.10%4.10%17,413,580
Micronesia23.20%1.52%117,489
Tonga23.10%0.99%107,749
Ethiopia22.70%4.40%120,812,698
Nepal21.50%3.09%30,225,582
South Sudan20.80%4.12%11,618,511
Saint Lucia19.00%0.98%185,113
Sri Lanka19.00%1.22%21,575,842
Malawi18.00%4.41%20,180,839
Rwanda17.70%3.07%13,600,464
Samoa17.60%-0.03%202,239
Niger16.90%4.72%26,083,660
Liechtenstein14.50%1.15%38,387
Burundi14.40%5.43%12,624,840
Papua New Guinea13.60%2.91%9,292,169
Montserrat9.20%0.94%4,965
Tokelau0.00%0.00%1,378
Wallis And Futuna0.00%0.00%10,982

Most Urbanized Countries 2022

Sources