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    024930

    The urban and city population projections of the United Nations: data, definitions and methods.

    United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. Population Division

    In: United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. Population projections: methodology of the United Nations. New York, N.Y., United Nations, 1984. 67-74. (Population Studies, No. 83; ST/ESA/SER.A/83)

    This paper draws attention to the large variation in national practices to determine localities and to classify urban populations which has serious implicatons for any projections of urban and city populations, no matter what specific methodology is being used. There are many criteria by whichlocalities can be defined as urban: population size, population density, % labor force in non-agriucltural activities, function of the city, some other unspecified "urban" characteristics or a combination of several of these criteria. Population size is deemed the preferable criterion for designating localities as urban. This criterion is consistent with one of the classic definitions of urbanization: "Urbanization is a process of population concenttration. It proceeds in 2 ways: the multiplication of points of concentration and the increase in size of individual concentration." Population size is also the most widely available criteria for localities. Procedures used by the UN to estimate and project urban and city population are given. The UN utilizes a measure of urbanization called the urban-rural ratio (URR), which is defined as the ratio of the urban to the rural population for a country at a given point in time. While attempts are being made to provide as complete a coverage of cities as possible, no standard guidelines have so far been used to systematically include all cities that will reach 100,000 population during the projection period. It is hoped that detailed discussion of the data and the conceptual and procedural problems will lead users of the estimates and projections to carefully consult the respective sources and definitions when they use these results for comparative purposes.
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