populated places encompassing a certain population and fulfilling chiefly industrial, transportation, cultural, and administrative-political functions. The proportion of inhabitants residing in urban settlements is the most significant index of the urbanization (and often industrialization) of a country or region. In a number of countries the only criteria for considering a populated area an urban settlement is the population or its administrative role.
The classification of urban settlements is determined by their economic and social functions and the size of their population. Generally they are divided into the following categories: small towns—up to 10,000 inhabitants, 10,000–20,000, and 20,000–50,000; medium-size cities, 50,000–100,000 inhabitants; and large cities—100,000–300,000 and 300,000–1,000,000 inhabitants.
In the USSR urban settlements are subdivided into cities and urban-type settlements (workers’ settlements). Urban settlements are the populated areas defined by the following population indexes: in the RSFSR, 12,000 inhabitants to assume the rights of a city and 3,000 inhabitants (with the understanding that not less than 85 percent of the population are industrial, office, and professional workers and members of their families) for urban-type settlements; in other Union republics the criteria are slightly different but close to these population indexes.
V. V. POKSHISHEVSKII