Global Health Observatory (GHO)

Urban health

Global situation: In 2014, it is estimated that 54% of the world’s population is living in urban areas. More than one billion people have been added to urban areas, globally, in the 14 years since 2000. It was only in 2008 that a majority of the world’s population, for the first time, lived in urban areas. This demographic shift from rural to urban settings has major implications for health, and health equity. In 64 countries, globally, 80% or more, and in 28 countries, 90% or more of the population lived in urban areas. The absolute number of people living in slums have been continuously rising as well. Currently, UN-Habitat estimates that the number of people living in slum conditions is 863 million, in contrast to 760 million in 2000 and 650 million in 1990.

fact buffet


54%of the global population was living in an urban area in 2014, up from 34% in 1960

Urban population growth

Health outcomes

94%of the countries studied improved their under-five mortality rates in urban areas between 1990–1999 and 2000–2011

Under-five mortality rate

Health determinants

651 millionurban residents lived in slum conditions in 2009

Slum residence


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