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Regional, rural and urban development

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Applying the Degree of Urbanisation

A Methodological Manual to Define Cities, Towns and Rural Areas for International Comparisons

This manual has been produced in close collaboration by six organisations — the European Commission, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and The World Bank. It presents a harmonised methodology to facilitate international statistical comparisons and to classify the entire territory of a country along an urban-rural continuum. The degree of urbanisation classification defines cities, towns and semi-dense areas, and rural areas. This manual is intended to complement and not replace the definitions used by national statistical offices (NSOs) and ministries. It has been designed principally as a guide for data producers, suppliers and statisticians so that they have the necessary information to implement the methodology and ensure coherency within their data collections. It may also be of interest to users of subnational statistics so they may better understand, interpret and use official subnational statistics for taking informed decisions and policymaking.

Published on April 28, 2021