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. Coronavirus

    Why Asian Countries Have Succeeded in Flattening the Curve

    To help flatten the curve in the Covid-19 outbreak, officials at all levels of government are asking people to stay home. Here's what’s worked, and what hasn't.

  2. Illustration: two roommates share a couch with a Covid-19 virus.
    Coronavirus

    The Strange, Sudden Intimacy of Socially Isolated Roommates

    Renters in apartments and houses share more than just germs with their roommates: Life under coronavirus lockdown means negotiating new social rules.

  3. Equity

    The Problem With a Coronavirus Rent Strike

    Because of coronavirus, millions of tenants won’t be able to write rent checks. But calls for a rent holiday often ignore the longer-term economic effects.

  4. Equity

    We'll Need To Reopen Our Cities. But Not Without Making Changes First.

    We must prepare for a protracted battle with coronavirus. But there are changes we can make now to prepare locked-down cities for what’s next.

  5. photo: a For Rent sign in a window in San Francisco.
    Coronavirus

    Do Landlords Deserve a Coronavirus Bailout, Too?

    Some renters and homeowners are getting financial assistance during the economic disruption from the coronavirus pandemic. What about landlords?

×