Urbanization, Population Distribution and Economic Development in Asia

Publication | February 1993
Urbanization, Population Distribution and Economic Development in Asia

The paper provides a perspective on spatial population distribution by reviewing recent trends and patterns of urbanization, population growth and economic development in Asian developing countries. It also discusses the sources of change in urbanization patterns, analyzes the factors and forces underlying urbanization and spatial concentration, and then draws some implications for policy.

The analysis shows that countries that have undergone rapid economic growth and dramatic structural changes have also experienced major shifts in the spatial distribution of population and economic activity. In most countries national urbanization levels are still at low or intermediate stages, but in a number of cases urban population growth has slowed and concentration in the traditional primate cities has begun to wane.

What will or should be the shape of future national urbanization (for instance, a dominant mega-urban region, a set of more dispersed regional centers, or some other form) and what will be best for national well-being remain an important question for research and a challenge to the government and the private sector.


  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Trends and Patterns of Population Distribution
  • Characteristics of Urban Systems
  • Factors Associated with Urbanization
  • Conclusion and Policy Implications
  • Appendix Tables