PS [In Depth]: Deconstructing the Urbanization Challenge

Urbanization is one of the defining trends of our time, and like most transformations, it presents both challenges and opportunities. From its relationship to inequality to its health impacts, the complexities of urbanization must be understood if countries are to maximize its benefits – and limit its fallout.

By 2030, the global labor force will number some 3.5 billion workers, up from 2.9 billion today. Creating enough jobs that fast would be hard enough in the best of times; when so many of them must be concentrated in fast-growing urban hubs in developing countries, the potential for lapses is high, with serious implications for poverty reduction, economic development, and even social stability.

The stakes of failure to meet the jobs challenge are high, not least because it would mean continued increase in urban poverty. Higher poverty rates exacerbate – and are exacerbated by – virtually every other urbanization-related problem, beginning with housing.

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