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Most Europeans live in urban areas

Infographic | 29-05-2016

According to the harmonised definition by Eurostat and the OECD, urban areas — defined as cities, towns and suburbs — provide a home to 72% of the EU‑28’s population; 41% live cities and 31% in towns and suburbs. Over the past 50 years, the urban population has continued to grow. However, the strongest growth took place in towns and suburbs. Many people have settled in the newly developed residential areas surrounding the existing cities. In contrast to the urban growth rates, the rural population showed a steady decline throughout the past decade. The share of people living in rural areas has decreased from 35% in 1960 to 28% in 2010.

Source data

The definitions of ‘cities’, ‘towns and suburbs’ and ‘rural areas’ are based on the ‘degree of urbanisation’ typology by Eurostat and the OECD. Depending on the share of the population living in the various types of clusters, Local Administrative Units (LAU level 2) areas are classified into three degrees of urbanisation: In ‘cities’ (densely populated areas with more than 50,000 inhabitants) at least 50% of the population lives in high-density clusters. In ‘towns and suburbs’ (intermediate density areas) less than 50% of the population lives in rural grid cells and less than 50% lives in high-density clusters. In ‘rural areas’ (thinly populated areas) more than 50% of the population lives in rural grid cells. The map of Europe showing the ‘degree of urbanisation’ is based on a 2006 density grid and LAU2 2011 delineation. The map was kindly provided by Eurostat, JRC, EFGS and REGIO-GIS. More information about the ‘degree of urbanisation’ typology can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/degree-of-urbanisation/overview

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