Country Listing

Uruguay Table of Contents



In the nineteenth century, Uruguay was already highly urbanized. But in the twentieth century, it has been one of the world's most urbanized states. According to the 1985 census, 87 percent of Uruguayans lived in urban areas, the highest percentage in Latin America. The department of Montevideo alone accounted for 44 percent of the country's population; the department of Canelones accounted for another 12 percent. Furthermore, the interior of Uruguay, although sparsely populated, was also quite urban. Census figures from 1985 indicate that even outside Montevideo over 80 percent of the country's inhabitants could be classified as "urban" (i.e., living in towns of 2,000 inhabitants or more). Most of these townspeople lived in the departmental capitals.

Uruguay's level of urbanization seemed likely to continue to rise, based on estimates of the growth rate of the urban population vis--vis that of the population as a whole and that of the rural population. During the 1960s, the urban population grew at an annual rate of 1.7 percent, while the overall population growth rate was only 1.0 percent. In the 1970s, the growth rates were 0.6 and 0.4 percent, respectively. For the 1981-88 period, the overall population growth rate was 0.7 percent, while the urban population grew by 0.9 percent and the rural population by only 0.3 percent.

Data as of December 1990