What Are the Consequences of Urbanization?

Consequences of urbanization include unequal wealth distribution, health hazards and violence. Some of these consequences arise from a large amount of people in urban areas that are either homeless or living in poor quality housing, according to the United Nations. The United Nations also notes that increases in urban crime and violence can be traced to poverty and social disintegration.

According to the United Nations, unequal wealth distribution in urban areas, a situation that arises when a small amount of the population enjoys a high income while a larger part of the population averages a lower income, causes a larger number of people to live in poor housing conditions than in rural areas. People living in poor housing conditions, or who are homeless, are at a greater risk for developing illnesses or being victims of crime. People who are threatened by illness because of poverty may also have a lower life expectancy than those able to better afford good health care. Urbanization also causes a larger amount of people to be exposed to health hazards that are distinctly urban, including respiratory illness caused by pollution and lead poisoning. Crime and violence in urban areas worldwide has increased approximately 3 to 5 percent over a 20-year period, according to the United Nations. The Population Reference Bureau notes that pollution in urban areas occurs as a result of the increase in consumption of food, energy, water and land in urban areas versus consumption in rural areas.