world's most urban countries

Concrete jungles: the world’s most urban countries

City life is stressful. It presses on our weary bones, wafts through windows on pungent fumes and boxes up our personal space. It affects our mental health and, according to a 2011 study by neuroscientist Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, increases the risk of mood and anxiety disorders including depression and schizophrenia. The specific causes of city stress are unconfirmed but it’s likely we can safely assume a mix of toxins, pollutants, noise and social behaviours unique to cities.

Noise in particular has been identified as a culprit of heightened stress among city dwellers. A 2014 study based in the Dutch city of Maastricht found that “residents of neighborhoods with more car traffic nuisance and more disturbance from railway noise reported worse mental health.” With increasing urbanisation all across the world, it’s clear that governments need to examine and invest in ways to mitigate the negative effects of city living.

In some countries, the percentage of the population living in urban areas has already reached 100. Below, we list the world’s most urban countries based on data from The World Bank. This is based on the percentage of people living in urban areas as defined by national statistical offices, and is calculated using World Bank population estimates and urban ratios from the United Nations World Urbanisation Prospects.

Rank Country % population in urban areas
1 Hong Kong SAR, China 100
2 Singapore 100
3 Bermuda 100
4 Macao SAR, China 100
5 Cayman Islands 100
6 Sint Maarten (Dutch part) 100
7 Monaco 100
8 Qatar 99
9 Kuwait 98
10 Belgium 98
11 Malta 95
12 Virgin Islands (U.S.) 95
13 Uruguay 95
14 Guam 94
15 San Marino 94
16 Iceland 94
17 Puerto Rico 94
18 Japan 93
19 Israel 92
20 Turks and Caicos Islands 92
21 Argentina 92
22 Netherlands 90
23 Luxembourg 90
24 Curacao 89
25 Chile 89
26 Australia 89
27 Northern Mariana Islands 89
28 Venezuela, RB 89
29 Bahrain 89
30 Lebanon 88
31 Denmark 88
32 American Samoa 87
33 Gabon 87
34 Palau 86
35 New Zealand 86
36 Greenland 86
37 Sweden 86
38 Andorra 86
39 Brazil 85
40 United Arab Emirates 85
41 Finland 84
42 Jordan 83
43 Saudi Arabia 83
44 Bahamas, The 83
45 Korea, Rep. 82
46 United Kingdom 82
47 Canada 82
48 United States 81
49 Norway 80
50 Spain 79
51 France 79
52 Mexico 79
53 Libya 78
54 Peru 78
55 Dominican Republic 78
56 Greece 78
57 Djibouti 77
58 Oman 77
59 Cuba 77
60 Brunei Darussalam 77
61 Belarus 76
62 Colombia 76
63 Costa Rica 76
64 Germany 75
65 West Bank and Gaza 75
66 Malaysia 74
67 Russian Federation 74
68 Switzerland 74
69 Bulgaria 74
70 Czech Republic 73
71 Turkey 73
72 Iran, Islamic Rep. 73
73 Marshall Islands 72
74 Mongolia 71
75 Hungary 71
76 Algeria 70
77 New Caledonia 70
78 Ukraine 69
79 Iraq 69
80 Dominica 69
81 Italy 69
82 Bolivia 68
83 Estonia 68
84 Latvia 67
85 Cyprus 67
86 Tunisia 67
87 Lithuania 67
88 Panama 66
89 El Salvador 66
90 Suriname 66
91 Austria 66
92 Congo, Rep. 65
93 Cabo Verde 65
94 Sao Tome and Principe 65
95 South Africa 64
96 Montenegro 64
97 Ecuador 64
98 Ireland 63
99 Portugal 63
100 Armenia 63
101 Korea, Dem. Rep. 61
102 Poland 61
103 Morocco 60
104 Paraguay 59
105 Mauritania 59
106 Gambia, The 59
107 Tuvalu 59
108 Croatia 59
109 Nicaragua 58
110 Haiti 57
111 Syrian Arab Republic 57
112 Botswana 57
113 Macedonia, FYR 57
114 Albania 56
115 French Polynesia 56
116 Serbia 55
117 Jamaica 55
118 China 54
119 Romania 54
120 Azerbaijan 54
121 Honduras 54
122 Cameroon 54
123 Slovak Republic 54
124 Seychelles 54
125 Cote d’Ivoire 53
126 Georgia 53
127 Ghana 53
128 Fiji 53
129 Kazakhstan 53
130 Indonesia 53
131 Isle of Man 52
132 Guatemala 51
133 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 50
134 Slovenia 50
135 Turkmenistan 50
136 Liberia 49
137 Thailand 49
138 Guinea-Bissau 49
139 Nigeria 47
140 Namibia 46
141 Moldova 45
142 Maldives 44
143 Philippines 44
144 Kiribati 44
145 Belize 44
146 Benin 44
147 Senegal 43
148 Angola 43
149 Egypt, Arab Rep. 43
150 Congo, Dem. Rep. 42
151 Aruba 42
152 Faeroe Islands 42
153 Zambia 40
154 Mauritius 40
155 Central African Republic 40
156 Equatorial Guinea 40
157 Bosnia and Herzegovina 40
158 Sierra Leone 40
159 Togo 39
160 Mali 39
161 Somalia 39
162 Pakistan 38
163 Bhutan 38
164 Lao PDR 38
165 Guinea 37
166 Uzbekistan 36
167 Kyrgyz Republic 36
168 Grenada 36
169 Madagascar 34
170 Yemen, Rep. 34
171 Sudan 34
172 Myanmar 34
173 Bangladesh 34
174 Vietnam 33
175 Zimbabwe 33
176 India 32
177 Timor-Leste 32
178 St. Kitts and Nevis 32
179 Mozambique 32
180 Barbados 32
181 Tanzania 31
182 Burkina Faso 29
183 Guyana 28
184 Comoros 28
185 Rwanda 28
186 Lesotho 27
187 Tajikistan 27
188 Afghanistan 26
189 Vanuatu 26
190 Kenya 25
191 Antigua and Barbuda 24
192 Tonga 24
193 Micronesia, Fed. Sts. 22
194 Chad 22
195 Eritrea 22
196 Solomon Islands 22
197 Swaziland 21
198 Cambodia 21
199 Samoa 19
200 Ethiopia 19
201 South Sudan 19
202 St. Lucia 18
203 Niger 18
204 Sri Lanka 18
205 Nepal 18
206 Malawi 16
207 Uganda 16
208 Liechtenstein 14
209 Papua New Guinea 13
210 Burundi 12
211 Trinidad and Tobago 9

Source: The World Bank

For incredible, beautiful, terrifying depictions of life in Hong Kong, see Architecture of Density by Michael Wolf. 

(Lead image: Michael Wolf)

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