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Urban Population Explosion Predicted

By next year, more than half the world�s population, 3.3 billion people, will for the first time live in towns and cities. That number is expected to swell to almost five billion by 2030, according to a United Nations Population Fund report.

The change is expected to be particularly swift in Africa and Asia, where between 2000 and 2030 �the accumulated urban growth of these two regions during the whole span of history will be duplicated in a single generation,� says the report titled �State of World Population 2007: Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth.�

This surge in urban populations, fueled more by natural increase, or births, than the migration of people from the countryside, is unstoppable, according to the report�s author George Martine.

Cities are predicted to edge out rural areas in more than sheer numbers of people. Because poverty is increasing more rapidly in urban areas, governments need to plan for where the poor will live rather than leaving them to settle illegally in shanties without sewerage and other services, the United Nations report warns.

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