1920 marked the first year that more U.S. residents lived in urban areas than rural areas (51% vs. 49%). In North Carolina, this transition did not occur until 1990, when 50.4% of state residents were living in urban areas compared to 49.6% living in rural areas. In 1990, only South Dakota (50%), Mississippi (47%), Maine (45%), West Virginia (36%), and Vermont (32%) had smaller shares of their population living in urban areas. Globally, 2010 marked the first time the majority of the world’s population was living in urban areas (52%).
Urban Area Definition
The Census Bureau identifies two types of urban areas:
Nationwide, there are 486 urbanized areas and 3,087 urban clusters. The population classified as urban includes all individuals living in urbanized areas and urban clusters.