World Bank

This new chart from the World Bank charts the uneven relationship between urbanization and GDP in Africa.

The standard line of thought is that movement to cities correlates with more wealth, but while that works for developing countries in Asia, it doesn't apply to Africa, as these charts from the World Bank show. Part of the World Bank's World Development Report on jobs, the chart compares the percentage of population living in urban areas with GDP per capita using data from World Development Indicators.

Urbanization usually leads to higher GDP because of higher levels of productivity, the report says, which is illustrated in the graph to the left. All five of the East Asia and Pacific countries in the graph show a steady increase in GDP per capita as people move to cities. But that did not happen for Sub-Saharan Africa; the graph on the right shows a sporadic relationship between urbanization and GDP. Part of the reason may be because much of non-farm work in Africa is from microenterprises and household businesses that do not earn much.

"These businesses make a significant contribution to gross job creation and destruction," the report says, "although not necessarily to net job creation and productivity growth."

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    If You Drive Less Than 10,000 Miles a Year, You Probably Shouldn't Own a Car

    Up to one-quarter of all U.S. drivers might be better off using ride-sharing services instead.

  2. Equity

    The Side Pittsburgh Doesn't Want You to See

    Pittsburgh filmmaker Chris Ivey has spent over twelve years documenting the lives of the people displaced so that the city can achieve its “cool” status.  

  3. Transportation

    How Seattle Bucked a National Trend and Got More People to Ride the Bus

    Three experts in three very different positions weigh in on their city’s ridership success.

  4. Construction workers build affordable housing units.
    Equity

    Why Is 'Affordable' Housing So Expensive to Build?

    As costs keep rising, it’s becoming harder and harder for governments to subsidize projects like they’ve done in the past.

  5. Design

    Experimental City: The Sci-Fi Utopia That Never Was

    With solar energy, recycling, computers, and personal mass transit, the 1960s-era Minnesota Experimental City was a prescient and hopeful vision of the urban future. A new documentary tells its story.