Monday, June 13, 2011


Echoing antiurbanites throughout the ages, Mahatma Gandhi said that "the true India is to be found not in its few cities, but in its 700,000 villages" and "the growth of the nation depends not on cities, but [on] its villages."  The great man was wrong.  India's growth depends almost entirely on its cities.  There is a near-perfect correlation between urbanization and prosperity across nations.  On average, as the share of a country's population that is urban rises by 10 percent, the country's per capita output increases by 30 percent.  Per capita incomes are allmost four times higher in those countries where a majority of people live in cities than in those countries where a majority of people live in rural areas. 

Edward Glaeser
Triumph of the City:  How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter,
Greener, Healthier and Happier,
page 7

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My daughter pointed out, during a trip to NYC, that 1 in 30 Americans live in and around NYC. Take that a step further and add up NYC, LA, Chicago and Houston, and some 1 in 10 Americans lives in and around just these four largest cities.

I also remember reading a few years ago that, while the US has 10cities with populations over 1M, China has over 100 such cities.

The concentration of people in large urban areas is just mind boggling. It's a good thing it's positive.