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In the middle of the 20th century, the rural population outnumbered the urban population by almost two and a half times. However, rapidly developing urbanization has led to the fact that already in 2007, for the first time in human history, the number of urban residents was higher than those who live outside the cities. And currently, according to the United Nations, the level of world urbanization is over 55%. The statistics predict a steady continuation of this trend – from 2020 to 2025, the urban population is expected to grow by 1.63 percent annually. But there are also countries that are the exception to the big picture. Here are ten countries in which the majority of their citizens are rural residents.
Ranking of countries with the lowest percentage of urban residents
|Nomination||a place||Country||Percentage of urban population|
|Ranking of countries with the lowest percentage of urban residents||10||Nepal||19.7%|
|2||Papua New Guinea||13.2%|
The highest mountainous country in the world is located in the southern part of Asia, right in the middle of the Himalayas. This is a very ancient state, the first mention of which dates back to the 8th century BC. Of the total population of Nepal, whose number reaches 29.3 million, only 19.7 percent live in cities. The largest city is Kathmandu, home to about a million people. The vast majority of able-bodied Nepalese are employed in agriculture. Half of all cultivated land is set aside for rice fields, and wheat, potatoes, corn, tobacco and sugar cane are grown here. Since the territory of Nepal consists mainly of mountainous terrain and only a modest part of it is suitable for agricultural purposes, terracing of slopes is traditionally used to expand arable fields. Land cultivation is usually done manually; most residents do not have access to expensive means of agricultural mechanization. Grazing livestock is flourishing in the mountainous regions: breeding yaks, cows and sheep. In recent decades, an increasing number of Nepalese are involved in tourism. The country is very popular with both connoisseurs of Buddhist shrines and climbers.
South Sudan is still a very young state that has existed since 2011 after secession from Sudan through a peaceful referendum. It is home to 12.58 million people. The country's landscape consists mainly of dense equatorial forests, low mountain ranges and dry steppes. Despite the scarcity of cultivable land and the hot climate, the agricultural sector is an essential part of the local economy. In South Sudan, cotton, peanuts, wheat, sugarcane and many other crops are grown for both domestic production and export. But the key component on which the country's budget relies is oil production. Thus, the majority of residents work in the fields, on farms, or in enterprises related to the oil industry. The state's urbanization rate is 19.6 percent. The largest city and capital, Juba, is home to about 200,000 people.
A relatively small island with an area of just over 65 and a half thousand kilometers, located in the Indian Ocean, at a distance of 800 kilometers from the equator. Of the total population of 21.44 million people, 18.5 percent live in cities. The most densely populated is the southwestern coast of the island. The largest city called Colombo, which also serves as the capital and main port, is home to 750 thousand people. The country's economy is based on agriculture, tourism and the extraction of valuable minerals. Sri Lanka supplies up to 10 percent of all tea in the world, and rubber and cinnamon are also grown here. The island has long been known for its precious minerals: sapphires, rubies and topaz. Almost half of all blue sapphires are native to Sri Lanka. Currently, the deposits are not so rich, but the extraction of stones continues. The tourism sector is developing rapidly, providing employment to local residents who live near historical sites and nature reserves. The country has as many as eight World Heritage Sites of interest to travelers, not to mention the unique flora and fauna of the national parks.
The Independent State of Samoa is located in the Pacific Ocean and consists of nine islands. It occupies most of the archipelago of the same name, the rest of the islands of which belong to American Samoa. The population reaches 200 thousand people. Slightly less than three quarters of the inhabitants live on Upolu Island. The capital of Samoa, Apia, is also the only city in the country, so it is not surprising that the urbanization rate here is only 18.2%. The agricultural sector plays a major role in the economy, this industry supplies high quality coconut oil and milk, bananas and cocoa for export. In the 1970s, an American timber company operated on the islands, but the Samoan government, dissatisfied with its predatory strategy, soon bought out the enterprises, and took the work of harvesting and exporting valuable timber under state control. The tourism sector is also very developed in the country, accounting for up to 25% of the gross domestic product.
Rwanda is an East African state with a population of 12.21 million, of which 17.2 percent are urban dwellers. The largest settlement, Kigali, has about 860 thousand people. The country's economy was severely affected by the civil war, which led, among other things, to the infamous genocide against the Tutsis, in which nearly 20 percent of the total Rwandans died. The agricultural sector provides jobs for almost the entire working-age population, but the lack of mechanization and the overestimated cost of leasing land from the state leads to a low return on labor. Of the products grown, only tea and coffee are exported, the rest is used for domestic consumption. Industry in Rwanda is also centered around the processing of agricultural products. But in recent years, it is planned to build enterprises in the field of mobile technologies, which may indirectly contribute to the growth of urbanization.
The country of Malawi is located in the southeastern part of the African continent. It is urbanized by 16.9 percent, with a total population of over 18.5 million. The capital is Lilongwe, a densely populated city serving as an administrative and economic center. Most of the country's territory is covered with tropical forests with rich flora and fauna. Malawi is currently experiencing an economic and cultural crisis caused by a dictatorial regime and armed clashes with the opposition that continued until the mid-1990s. The literacy rate among the population is catastrophically low (50-70 percent), almost all able-bodied residents are engaged in hard work in the agricultural sector. Minors often work on tobacco, potato and corn plantations. Traditional African livestock production is complicated by the spread of the tsetse fly, which infects livestock with sleeping sickness. Of the industry in Malawi, the production of textiles and sugar predominates, and artisanal gold mining is also carried out.
The Republic of Niger (often confused with Nigeria) is located in West Africa and has a population of 21.48 million. 16.4 percent of the country's citizens live in urban areas, with the capital Niamey being the most populous city. The state ranks second in the world in terms of poverty, in addition, it has an extremely low development index. At the same time, Niger has quite large deposits of uranium ores, but due to corruption and artisanal mining, the production of uranium brings little income to its national budget. The residents are engaged in agriculture, growing peanuts, sugarcane, millet, sorghum, oranges and much more. Land cultivation is challenging due to the long droughts that are common in West African areas. Private livestock breeding is also widespread, providing a stable source of food for the poor in difficult economic conditions.
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a thriving industrial state, surrounded by the Alps, between Switzerland and Austria. Of the total population of 38.5 thousand people, only 14.3 percent live in cities, the rest prefer comfortable villages. The backbone of the economy is the financial services sector – the offshore zone and low taxes have made the monarchical state extremely attractive for representatives of big business from all over the world. In addition, the manufacturing industry is developed, in particular, the principality is a leader in the production of ceramic dentures. Agriculture is represented mainly by winemaking and meat and dairy farming. Due to the ideal ecological conditions, the presence of high mountains and the abundance of medieval castles, Liechtenstein is also extremely attractive for tourists, the tourism sector in the country is at the highest level.
Papua New Guinea
An island nation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, north of the Australian continent, the urbanization rate is 13.2%. And it is not surprising, because relatively recently, the ancestors of the natives led an exclusively tribal lifestyle, and many of them did not even disdain cannibalism. The latter, by the way, is still occasionally found in the most remote and inaccessible corners of this primitive country. The population of Papua New Guinea reaches 8.25 million, and the largest city, Port Moresby, has just over 283,000 inhabitants. Outside the cities, the Papuans prefer to settle in traditional huts, forming tribal groups. The economy of the islands consists mainly of subsistence agriculture and mining. The territory is rich in mineral resources, but their development is complicated by the features of the relief, as well as underdeveloped infrastructure. In the agricultural sector, the cultivation of cocoa beans and sweet potatoes plays a key role.
Burundi is an East African country and one of the least developed countries in the world. Of the total population of 10.86 million, no more than 13% are urban residents. The industry has long been in decline due to the raging civil war, and only since the late 1990s, some enterprises have resumed their work. The agricultural sector provides employment for up to 90% of the working population, the main crops are tea, coffee, tobacco and wheat. The territory of the state is rich in natural resources, such as platinum, the development of which has not yet been established. More than half of the population lives below the poverty line, and only owners of small farms, located mostly in the east of Burundi, can boast of a stable income.
Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.