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Mapping the World’s Urban Population in 2050



Click on any part of the map to see individual country breakdowns.

Mapping the World’s Urban Population from 1500 – 2050

In 133 BC, Rome was the first city to hit a population of one million people.
While that number might seem small now, the truth is that modern megacities are just a blip in the long timeline of human history.
Today’s interactive data visualization from Our World in Data maps out how many people have lived in urban areas over time, as well as the powerful economic pull of cities after the Industrial Revolution.

Shifting Human Geography

The stages of urbanization can be roughly broken into two parts.
1500s – 1900s
Most people lived an agrarian life until the first Industrial Revolution. The urban population quadrupled over this lengthy timeframe, from 4.1% to 16.4%.
Urbanization accompanied the moves away from agricultural employment, but it was still a slow burn until the 20th century.
1900s – Present
The expansion of the global economy and population saw urbanization skyrocket along with it. The urban public leaped from 16% to 55% today, a trend which comes from both births within urban areas and rising human migration out of rural areas.
This turning point between the centuries becomes pretty clear when we look at the population shifts relative to each other:

What Defines An Urban Area?

While this widely cited data comes from the United Nations, many researchers suggest that the actual numbers are much more dramatic.
Why is there a discrepancy? It turns out that the definition of an urban population varies widely around the world. The UN figures are based on nationally-defined urban shares – but the thresholds and metrics used to calculate these are not uniform. Here are just a few examples:

ArgentinaLocalities with 2,000 inhabitants or more.
AustraliaSignificant Urban Centres representing concentrations of urban development with 10,000 inhabitants or more.
BelgiumCommunes with 5,000 inhabitants or more.
CanadaAreas with 1,000 inhabitants or more and at least 400 inhabitants per square kilometre.
IcelandLocalities with 200 inhabitants or more.
JapanCities defined as shi (A municipality that is 50,000 inhabitants or more); 60 per cent or more of the population engaged in urban type of business.
NetherlandsIn the present publication, municipalities with 20,000 inhabitants or more.
SingaporeEntire population.
United States of AmericaTerritory that meets minimum population density requirements and with 2,500 inhabitants or more.

Cities That Never Sleep

In 1950, two-thirds of the global population lived in rural areas, but this distribution will be reversed in a matter of decades. Almost 70% of the world will live in urban areas by 2050.
In total, 2.5 billion people could be added to global urban areas by 2050, and a whopping 90% of this increase will take place in Asia and Africa.
By the time the dust has settled, large portions of the urban population will be concentrated in megacities, which are areas defined as having 10 million or more inhabitants. These are projected to be the top 10 megacities by the middle of the 21st century:

CityCountry2010 Population (millions)2050 Population (millions)
KinshasaDR Congo935
New YorkU.S.19.424.8
Mexico CityMexico20.124.3

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Mapped: The Safest Cities in the U.S.

How safe is small town America? This map reveals the safest cities in the U.S. in terms of the total crime rate per every 1,000 residents.



safest cities in the u.s.

Mapped: The Safest Cities in America

The phrase “small town America” often conjures up images of white picket fences, well-trimmed lawns, and big houses. But how safe is modern-day suburbia in America?

Some of the smallest places in the country can actually be among the most dangerous. Take for example Bessemer, Alabama, with a population of around 26,000 and a violent crime rate of 33.1 per every 1,000 residents.

That said, there are many small cities that are true havens for families across the United States. This map showcases the safest cities in the U.S., using FBI data and Census Bureau populations compiled by NeighborhoodScout in 2023.

Note: The source only considered cities with a population of 25,000 or higher. This report is based on total index crimes reported in each city, which includes arson, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, murder, rape, armed robbery, and aggravated assault.

Top 100 Safest Cities in the U.S.

40% of the cities in the ranking are located in Northeastern states, which are typically rated the “safest” based on FBI data.

Here’s a closer look at the full list:

RankCityStateTotal Crime Rate
(per 1,000 residents)
Chance of Being
a Victim
1RidgefieldConnecticut1.91 in 510
2FranklinMassachusetts2.91 in 344
3Lake in the HillsIllinois3.11 in 321
4MarshfieldMassachusetts3.31 in 300
5ArlingtonMassachusetts3.41 in 292
6FulshearTexas3.61 in 276
7ZionsvilleIndiana3.61 in 275
8LexingtonMassachusetts3.71 in 270
9MuskegoWisconsin3.81 in 265
10RexburgIdaho3.91 in 253
11IndependenceKentucky3.91 in 253
12OswegoIllinois4.11 in 238
13MiltonMassachusetts4.21 in 233
14NeedhamMassachusetts4.21 in 233
15White LakeMichigan4.21 in 233
16Avon LakeOhio4.31 in 232
17MadisonMississippi4.51 in 221
18WakefieldMassachusetts4.51 in 218
19WindsorColorado4.51 in 218
20South KingstownRhode Island4.71 in 212
21ColleyvilleTexas4.81 in 206
22West BloomfieldMichigan4.91 in 204
23Johns CreekGeorgia4.91 in 202
24BillericaMassachusetts5.11 in 195
25MasonOhio5.11 in 192
26ReadingMassachusetts5.11 in 192
27North AndoverMassachusetts5.21 in 190
28WellesleyMassachusetts5.21 in 189
29MundeleinIllinois5.31 in 187
30BrandonMississippi5.31 in 186
31CumberlandRhode Island5.41 in 184
32AndoverMassachusetts5.41 in 182
33EdwardsvilleIllinois5.51 in 178
34Little ElmTexas5.61 in 176
35MerrimackNew Hampshire5.71 in 172
36WalthamMassachusetts5.81 in 169
37WylieTexas5.91 in 169
38Commerce TownshipMichigan5.91 in 169
39MiltonGeorgia5.91 in 167
40MelroseMassachusetts6.01 in 164
41BallwinMissouri6.11 in 162
42North KingstownRhode Island6.11 in 162
43BeverlyMassachusetts6.21 in 161
44Rochester HillsMichigan6.21 in 160
45KellerTexas6.31 in 158
46ShrewsburyMassachusetts6.41 in 156
47DracutMassachusetts6.41 in 155
48ProsperTexas6.41 in 155
49NewtonMassachusetts6.51 in 152
50FriendswoodTexas6.51 in 152
51McHenryIllinois6.51 in 152
52Fort MillSouth Carolina6.61 in 151
53WallingfordConnecticut6.81 in 146
54CaledoniaWisconsin6.91 in 144
55BelmontMassachusetts6.91 in 144
56De PereWisconsin6.91 in 143
57Flower MoundTexas7.01 in 142
58EastonMassachusetts7.01 in 141
59Highland ParkIllinois7.01 in 141
60CarmelIndiana7.21 in 138
61SachseTexas7.21 in 138
62AlgonquinIllinois7.21 in 137
63HendersonvilleTennessee7.21 in 137
64San LuisArizona7.31 in 136
65FishersIndiana7.31 in 135
66PerrysburgOhio7.41 in 135
67Lake StevensWashington7.41 in 134
68CheshireConnecticut7.41 in 134
69MilfordMassachusetts7.51 in 132
70Saratoga SpringsUtah7.51 in 132
71Bella VistaArkansas7.51 in 132
72PrincetonNew Jersey7.51 in 131
73BlufftonSouth Carolina7.61 in 130
74NoviMichigan7.61 in 130
75ChelmsfordMassachusetts7.61 in 130
76AmherstMassachusetts7.71 in 129
77RosemountMinnesota7.71 in 129
78GloucesterMassachusetts7.71 in 129
79SyracuseUtah7.81 in 127
80WaukeeIowa7.81 in 126
81MequonWisconsin7.91 in 126
82WestfieldIndiana7.91 in 126
83Spring HillTennessee7.91 in 126
84Upper ArlingtonOhio7.91 in 126
85RahwayNew Jersey7.91 in 125
86MontclairNew Jersey7.91 in 125
87GreenwichConnecticut8.01 in 125
88HuttoTexas8.01 in 124
89Vestavia HillsAlabama8.01 in 123
90BrownsburgIndiana8.11 in 123
91WilmetteIllinois8.11 in 123
92New MilfordConnecticut8.11 in 122
93HilliardOhio8.21 in 120
94Royal OakMichigan8.21 in 120
95DerryNew Hampshire8.31 in 121
96DublinOhio8.31 in 120
97West WarwickRhode Island8.51 in 116
98WatertownMassachusetts8.51 in 116
99WalpoleMassachusetts8.61 in 115
100KaysvilleUtah8.61 in 115

One quarter of the safest cities are located in Massachusetts, with the vast majority clustered around Boston.

The median population of the cities and towns in the top 100 is just 32,000, and few widely-recognized cities make the list. Carmel, Indiana (#60) is the only city with a population above 100,000 to make the rankings. This would seem to follow the logic that bigger cities are more dangerous, but our map covering the most dangerous cities in America shows that many small cities were just as dangerous, and some even more.

Regardless, small towns can truly be idyllic. For example, a person’s chance of falling victim to crime in Ridgefield, Connecticut, the safest ranked city in the U.S., is just 1-in-510. That’s an overall rate of fewer than two incidents of crime per every 1,000 residents.

One surprising observation from the data is that many of the safest U.S. cities are in very close proximity to some of the most dangerous.

safest cities in the US location

One example that illustrates this is Detroit, which ranks as the sixth most dangerous city in America. Despite this, as shown on the map above, there are four communities nearby that have some of the lowest crime rates in America.

In other words, America’s metro areas contain much contrast, and these insights provide valuable information for individuals and families seeking secure places to live across the country.

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