More and more of the world's population are living in towns or cities. The speed at which cities are growing in the less developed countries is alarming.
Between 1920 and 1960, big cities in developed countries increased two and a half times in size, but in other parts of the world the growth was eight times their size.
The sheer size of growth is bad enough, but there are now also very disturbing signs of trouble in the comparison of percentages of people living in towns and percentages of people working in industry. During the 19th century, cities grew as a result of the growth of industry.
In Europe, the proportion of people living in cities was always smaller than that of the workforce working in factories.
Now, however, the reverse is almost always true in the newly industrialized world: The percentage of people living in cities is much higher than the percentage working in industry.
Without a base of people working in industry, these cities cannot pay for their growth; there is not enough money to build adequate houses for the people that live there, let alone the new arrivals.
There has been little opportunity to build water supplies or other facilities. So the figures for the growth of towns and cities represent proportional growth of unemployment and underemployment, a growth in the number of hopeless and despairing parents and starving children.