The most urbanized continent today is North America. Over the past decades, the exodus of the rural population to the cities has been faster than in any other.
The percentage of developed and urbanized land on the continent is not among the highest on the planet, but the population concentration makes up for it. Especially in the United States and Canada, there is a high concentration in large cities.
Despite not having the cities with the most inhabitants on Earth, North America is a territory that has exceeded 80% urbanization.
Europe was the first part of the planet that experienced this transit of people from rural areas to cities. The size and dispersion of the North American population made the process difficult at the beginning.
The subsequent arrival of the Industrial Revolution on the other side of the Atlantic also influenced this late evolution.However, during the last decades the process has accelerated to the point that North America, with more than 80% urbanization, is already in first place.
In a society increasingly distant from the primary sector, the masses of the population tend to move from the rural to the urban areas. This step became more common with the establishment of the advances of the Industrial Revolution.
When the growth of the tertiary or services sector is an integral part of a model of society, it tends to agglomerate into larger and larger urban groups.
With the great economic and industrial powers of North America, such as the United States and Canada, this process has occurred at a higher rate than in the rest of the planet.
Urbanization: an ongoing process
Despite the great advance of urbanization in North America, it cannot be said that it is a process that is approaching its end.
There are factors that favor the continuation of this dynamic, such as immigration and the mechanization of farm tasks. They also contribute to the ease with which members of an urban society communicate with each other and are connected.
When speaking of urbanization in North America, it should be borne in mind that large cities are few in number.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, there has been the possibility of urban development connecting different cities, to become a great metropolitan environment.
There are studies that indicate that in the year 2050 the urban concentration of the population in North America will comprise close to 90%.
As growth is observed, this trend is expected to slow down until all continents gradually equalize.
In this North American process there is a common circumstance with the rest of the world, and that is that not all cities grow in a balanced way.
The expectation is that there are some that decrease due to their lack of economic dynamism. Instead, those in which new commercial and corporate values emerge will take over in this constant expansion.
- Urbanization, biodiversity and ecosystem services: Challenges and Opportunities: A Global Assessment. (2013). 279-281. Retrieved from researchgate.net
- Degree of urbanization (percentage of urban population in total population) by continent in 2017. (2017). Retrieved from statista.com
- Continents of the world by degree of urbanization. (2017). Obtained from worldatlas.com.
- World Urbanization Prospects. (2014). Obtained from esa.un.org
- Josep Roca Cladera. The urban phenomenon in the 20th and 21st centuries: New trends in urban development. (sf). Obtained from cpsv.upc.es