189 City Living


By 2002 it was estimated at 2.99 billion people lived in urban areas in the world. An urban area is a town or a city.

Data sources

The estimates are derived from the United Nations Development Programme’s 2004 Human Development Report, Table 5. This data was in turn based on national definitions of what constitutes a city or metropolitan area, which were sourced from the United Nations’s 2004 “World Urbanization Prospects: The 2003 Revision Database.” From the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, New York.

The information included in the descriptive note about the oldest cities in the world was sourced from an article written by Dan Cruickshank, entitled ‘The Lost Palaces of Iraq’. This was published on 26 th February, 2003, on the British Broadcasting Corporation’s website. The information about the world’s first city reads: “The oldest civilisation we know is the Sumerian - located in the far south of present-day Iraq . Around 6,000 years ago the Sumerians built the world's first city - Uruk - and, for good or ill, introduced urban civilisation.” This article is available from the website below (checked December 2006):


Click here to view detailed data source references

The quote used on this poster is from Said Sharmila Mirchandi, a teacher at the New Horizon Public School in Bangalore, who was quoted in a report: Indian schoolchildren go back to nature for lessons by Vaibhav Varma for Channel NewsAsia in July 2006. The quote was accessed in July 2006 on the website below:


Excel sheets

Below is an explanation of each of the columns in the excel file:

Column A = Unique numerical territory (see 001).

Column B = Region and territory names (see 001).

Column C = Region code (see 001).

Column D = The ISO 3 code, or ISO ALPHA-3 (see 001).

Column E = Number of people living in urban areas, in millions, in 2002. To calculate this, the number of people living in urban areas in tens of thousands in 2002 (taken from source data sheet) is divided by 100. (E = living in urban areas in tens of thousands / 100).

Column F = Percentage of the population living in urban areas in 2002. To calculate this, the number of people living in urban areas in millions, in 2002 (Column E) is divided by the population in millions, in 2002 (Column G), and multiplied by 100 to make a percentage. (F = 100 * E / G).

Column G = Population in 2002, in millions. See the technical notes for ‘Total Population’ for the sources of this data (002).