1 Urban and Rural Areas

a. General Definition

Urban area: Is an area characterized by higher population density and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas may be cities, towns or conurbations, but the term is not commonly extended to rural settlements such as villages and hamlets.

Urban areas are created and further developed by the process of urbanization. Measuring the extent of an urban area helps in analysing population density and urban sprawl in determining urban and rural populations. They vary somewhat amongst different nations. European countries define urbanized areas on the basis of urban-type land use, not allowing any gaps of typically more than 200 meters and use satellite imagery instead of census blocks to determine the boundaries of the urban area. In less developed countries, in addition to land use and density requirements, a requirement that a large majority of the population, typically 75%, is not engaged in agriculture and/or fishing is sometimes used. (Sources: Wikipedia; Answers Corporation)

b. KNBS Definitions

KNBS defines an urban area as follows:

Urban: Is an area with an increased density of human-created structures in comparison to the areas surrounding it and has a population of 2,000 and above. In this definition urban areas include the following: cities, Town Councils and Urban Councils. The City of Nairobi, Mombasa, all Municipalities, District Headquarters, all towns and trading centres with a population of 2,000 persons or more are designated as urban areas.” (Source: KNBS, August 2010; 5)

Rural: Is a large and isolated area of an open country (in reference to open fields and not forests,etc.), often with low population density.” (Source: KNBS, August 2010;5)

2 Urbanisation

The process by which large numbers of people become permanently concentrated in relatively small areas, forming cities.

The definition of what constitutes a city changes from time to time and place to place, but it is most usual to explain the term as a matter of demographics. The United Nations has recommended that countries regard all places with more than 20,000 inhabitants living close together as urban; but, infact, nations compile their statistics on the basis of many different standards.The United States, for instance, uses “urban place” to mean any locality where more than 2,500 people live. (Source: Wikipedia).

3 Demographic Change

a. Population Increase

The rate of population growth is the rate of natural increase combined with the effects of migration. Thus a high rate of natural increase can be offset by a large net out-migration and a low rate of natural increase can be countered by a high level of net in-migration. Generally speaking, however,these migration effects on population growth rates are far smaller than the effects of changes in fertility and mortality. (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica).

Population growth: Increase in the number of people who inhabit a territory or state. (Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com)

b. Population Decline

Population decline: Can refer to the decline in population of any organism; decline in humans: term to describe any great reduction in human population; sometimes known as depopulation, population decline is the reduction over time in a regions census; in former times due to diseases, wars etc. nowadays due to sub-replacementfertility (Source: Wikipedia).

4 Population Density

Urban density: Is a term used in urban planning and urban design to refer to the number of people inhabiting a given urbanized area. As such it is to be distinguished from other measures of population density. Urban density is considered an important factor in understanding how cities function. Research related to urban density occurs across diverse areas, including economics, health, innovation, psychology and geography as well as sustainability (Source: Answers Corporation).

MajiData uses the following population density categories:

  • High population density: 5,001 persons per km2 and above

  • Medium population density: between 401 and5,000 persons/km2

  • Low population density: 400 persons/km2 or less

Areas with a population density lower than 400 persons/kmare not considered to be areas with urban characteristics.