East Asia’s Changing Urban Landscape: Measuring a Decade of Spatial Growth

World Bank

[From Press Release] Almost 200 million people moved to urban areas in East Asia from 2000-2010 – a figure that would be the world’s sixth-largest population for any single country, according to new data released today by the World Bank.

For the first time, the data compares urban areas and their populations in a consistent manner across East Asia, providing governments and local leaders with a better understanding of the shape and scale of the growth so they can get urbanization right – creating opportunities for all…

Analyzed in a new report titled “East Asia’s Changing Urban Landscape: Measuring a Decade of Spatial Growth,” the data indicates that overall, urban areas in East Asia expanded at an average of 2.4 percent per year during the decade studied, with urban land reaching 134,800 square kilometers in 2010.

Urban populations grew even faster at an annual average rate of 3.0 percent, increasing to 778 million in 2010 – the largest of any region in the world. Other sources indicate that it took more than 50 years for the same number to become urbanized in Europe.

The report finds a direct link between urbanization and income growth, showing how economic output per capita increased throughout the region as the percentage of people living in urban areas went up.

The report says that there are 869 urban areas with more than 100,000 people in the East Asia region. They include eight megacities of more than 10 million people: the Pearl River Delta, Shanghai and Beijing in China; Tokyo and Osaka in Japan; and Jakarta, Seoul and Manila. China’s Pearl River Delta has overtaken Tokyo to become the largest urban area in the world in both size and population.

At the same time, there was significant growth in smaller urban areas. In fact, the 572 smallest urban areas – with populations of 100,000 to 500,000 – as well as the 106 medium-sized urban areas with populations of 1 million to 5 million, have more total land area than the eight megacities…

To further improve our understanding of urban expansion, the World Bank is calling for submissions of (1) data visualization and (2) proposals for a policy research paper, using the new data set introduced in the report “East Asia’s Changing Urban Landscape: Measuring a Decade of Spatial Growth.” For more information, visit: http://www.worldbank.org/eap/measuringurbanexpansion


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