The Rise of Urban Societies & Current Patterns of Urbanization

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  • 0:02 Urban Society
  • 0:55 Urbanization
  • 2:21 Current Trends
  • 4:00 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

People live in many different places: cities, suburbs, and the country. In this lesson, we'll look at historical and modern trends having to do with cities, including how the Industrial Revolution and urban renewal programs impacted urban populations.

Urban Society

Pam works for a city government, and she is in charge of looking at trends in the demographics of the city. That is, it is her responsibility to look at things like population numbers, gender, race, and socioeconomic status to see how the population of the city is changing.

Pam's city is an urban society, which includes cities and metropolitan areas. These areas have people who are mostly in non-agricultural jobs, and they have a high population density. That is, they have a lot of people in a relatively small space.

When she looked at the data, Pam noticed that the demographic trends in her city have changed a lot over the past 150 years. Let's look with Pam at some of the trends of urban societies, including the two major periods of urbanization.


As we've seen, Pam is in charge of looking at data to see what trends there are in the population of her city. When she goes back through historical data, she notices a couple of big times of growth. During these times, people moved to the city, and its population soared.

Movement from rural areas to urban areas by a lot of people is called urbanization. When this happens, a society changes so that the majority of people live in an urban area.

The first major urbanization period that Pam notices in the data happened at the end of the 19th century. During this time, the Industrial Revolution meant that America (and many other countries) moved from being a mostly agricultural society to being a mostly industrial society. That is, most people went from working on farms to working in factories.

What does this have to do with urbanization? Farms and other agricultural jobs are mostly found in non-urban areas. Before the Industrial Revolution, most people had those jobs and, therefore, lived in the country or in very small villages.

But after the revolution, most people got jobs working in factories. Since factory jobs are usually in cities, many people moved from the country to the city to get work. Thus, Pam can see that there was a big urbanization movement around the Industrial Revolution.

Current Trends

Pam finds the Industrial Revolution and ensuing urbanization an interesting part of history, but it happened all the way at the end of the 19th century. That's a long time ago! She's really interested in what has happened since then.

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