Higher Urbanization in Latin America than in Europe

  • Cities in Latin America have grown significantly over the last forty years. The percentage of urban residents in the area increased from 40% in 1950 to 70% in 1990. Latin America is the most urbanized region in the world as of now, when nearly 81% of the population resides in cities.
  • That means that the degree of urbanization in Latin America is higher than in the European Union, where the degree of urbanization is 75%. In Asia, the degree of urbanization is only 52%.
  • 90% of Latin Americans will be urban dwellers by 2050. There are currently more than 55 cities with a million or more residents, including some of the world’s largest metropolitan areas. Depending on how one counts, Latin America’s economy is fueled by almost 2,000 cities. None of the world’s regions has urbanized more quickly.

The Biggest Metropolitan Areas in Latin America

  1. Sao Paulo, Brazil – 22,4 million people
  2. Mexico City, Mexico – 22 million people
  3. Buenos Aires, Argentina – 15,3 million people
  4. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 13,6 million people
  5. Bogota, Colombia – 11,3 million people
  6. Lima, Peru – 11 million people

Opportunities of Urbanization in Latin America

  • Economic expansion: Latin America’s economies have benefited from urbanization, which creates employment opportunities and boosts GDP. Moreover, urbanization can spur entrepreneurship and innovation, which can aid in economic growth.
  • Services: Access to necessary services like healthcare, education, and public transit can all be improved by urbanization. Governments and service providers can more effectively and efficiently provide vital services to a greater number of people by concentrating population in urban areas.
  • Cultural and social diversity: By bringing people from various origins and experiences together in cities, urbanization can promote cultural and social diversity. This can foster social tolerance and understanding and contribute to a rich cultural landscape.

Challenges of Urbanization in Latin America

  • Infrastructure and service delivery: Due to the region’s fast urbanization, it has become increasingly difficult to provide basic infrastructure and services like housing, transportation, sanitary facilities, and healthcare. It can be difficult for many communities in the region to accommodate their expanding populations with enough infrastructure and services.
  • Environmental sustainability: Significant environmental issues, such as air and water pollution, deforestation, and waste management, have also been brought on by urbanization in Latin America. Increasing urbanization has exacerbated climate change since cities provide a large amount of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Social inequality: The gaps in living standards, access to healthcare, education, and work prospects between urban and rural communities as well as within urban areas have been exacerbated by urbanization in Latin America. Social unrest has resulted from this, which could slow down the economy.


Only a few region in the world has experienced such strong urbanization as Latin America. A total of 95.6 million people live in the largest metropolitan regions. This development is interesting for economic developments. Nevertheless, high urbanization also brings problems such as smoke pollution or inequalities in a metropolitan area. The task of the countries in Latin America is to combat the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that high urbanization offers.

Other Blogs

  • 13 min read

    March 23, 2023

  • 2 min read

    March 22, 2023

  • 10 min read

    March 21, 2023

  • 4 min read

    March 20, 2023