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Urbanization refers to the population increase in urban areas versus to that of rural areas. It is a process of transformation of land use and occupations of people from agriculture to non agriculture activities and transformation from traditional rural society to modern industrial one.

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It is an indicator of growth of secondary, tertiary and quaternary economic activities like manufacturing, trade and information technology etc and on the other hand reducing the agriculture land. The United Nations defines urbanization as a movement of people from rural to urban areas in search of employment and better standard of life.


Urbanization is driven by industrialisation and economic growth, and results in the formation of towns, cities and metropolitan areas. The urban system relates to concentration of people engaged in secondary and tertiary economic activities and land use change in specific area.

A number of urban geographers have defined urbanization in their own words and understanding. But there is general agreement among all the scholars that urbanization is population shift from rural to urban areas and shift of economic activities from primary to secondary and tertiary.

Kantsebovskaya urbanization implies changes in the nature of people’s activities; in the ratio between population engaged in agricultural activities and rest of population; in the population distribution according to the types of settlements; in the population concentration of man’s activities in shaping of urban way of life and its growing influence on the other sections of population.

Riessman has defined the process of urbanization as the entire process of change and its consequences when a society transforms from a agrarian to a industrial economy and from a small homogeneous society to a large heterogeneous society.

Urbanization is the outcome of the following process-

  1. Concentration of people with high density compare to rural areas with very rare exceptions;
  2. Migration from rural to urban areas;
  3. Occupational change from primary to secondary economic activities;
  4. Land use change from agriculture to non agricultural activities.

According to Thompson urbanization characterised by movement of people from small Communities concerned solely with agriculture to other large Communities whose activities are primarily centred in government, trade, manufacturing and allied interest.

“Urbanization is the movement of population from rural to urban areas.”
Ram Ahuja.

“Urbanization refers to the movement of people from rural area to city”
Wallance and Wallance

Prof. Hauser and Duncan characterizes Urbanization as a change in the pattern of population distribution. It involves an increase in the relative size of the urban population, a growth in number and size of urban settlements or places and an increasing concentration of the population in such places.

Urbanization is a long term continuous process of transformation of society from traditional rural to modern urban communities. At present more people live in urban areas compare to rural areas, about 55% world’s population is residing in urban areas in 2018.It is estimated that about 68% of world’s population will projected to be urban by 2050 and about 50% population of India will be in same category in same year.

Urbanized Area

The administrative and population-based criteria are interrelated since urban administrative status is generally conferred on larger settlements. Most of the population-based cut-offs fall between 1,000 and 5,000 inhabitants, with a few significant outliers. However, there is sufficient variation and this variation is systematic and can affect perceptions of regional over- or under-urbanization.

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