Urban and Rural Population

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Urban and Rural Population


two population categories differentiated by place of residence: in cities and other urban settlements and in rural localities.

The ratio between urban and rural population shows the degree of urbanization of countries and regions; however, the criteria for classifying inhabited localities as urban or rural differ from country to country. In 1969 some 33 percent of the world’s total population was urban (in Europe, 59 percent; Asia, 21; Africa, 16; North and Central America, 62; and South America, 49). In several countries 75 to 80 percent of the population is urban (Great Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany, Australia); in the USA the figure is 73 percent (1968).

In the USSR the proportion of urban population rose in the course of the country’s industrialization from 18 percent in 1926 to 56 percent by the beginning of 1970 (urban, 136,000,000; rural, 105,700,000). A striking preponderance of urban population typifies the country’s chief industrial regions (in Moscow Oblast, for example, including the city of Moscow, it is 86 percent, and in the oblasts of Donetsk, 87; Voroshilovgrad, 83; Kemerovo, 82; Sverdlovsk, 81; and Cheliabinsk, 78) and several regions of new commercial development of natural resources (in Murmansk Oblast, 89 percent; Magadan Oblast, 75; and Kamchatka Oblast, 76). The proportion of the rural population is high mainly in republics and oblasts with extensive development of labor-intensive branches of agriculture (in the Uzbek SSR, 36 percent; Tad-zhik SSR, 37; and Moldavian SSR, 32). The Soviet Union has set the task, which it is successfully accomplishing in the process of building communism, of bringing the cultural facilities and living conditions of the urban and rural population into closer alignment by every possible means.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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