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. Graduates react near the end of commencement exercises at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S.
    Life

    Where Do College Grads Live? The Top and Bottom U.S. Cities

    Even though superstar hubs top the list of the most educated cities, other cities are growing their share at a much faster rate.

  2. Smoke from the fires hangs over Brazil.
    Environment

    Why the Amazon Is on Fire

    The rash of wildfires now consuming the Amazon rainforest can be blamed on a host of human factors, from climate change to deforestation to Brazilian politics.

  3. a map of London Uber driver James Farrar's trip data.
    Transportation

    For Ride-Hailing Drivers, Data Is Power

    Uber drivers in Europe and the U.S. are fighting for access to their personal data. Whoever wins the lawsuit could get to reframe the terms of the gig economy.

  4. An aerial photo of downtown Miami.
    Life

    The Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Aren’t What You Think

    Looking at the population and job growth of large cities proper, rather than their metro areas, uncovers some surprises.

  5. a photo of a local business displaying a protest sign of the proposed extension of the light rail system along Central Avenue, in Phoenix.
    Transportation

    Phoenix’s Light Rail Future Is Under Attack

    Proposition 105, a ballot measure funded in part by groups tied to the Koch brothers, threatens to halt long-planned extensions to the booming Arizona city’s transit system.

×