Urban students typically gain greater overall access to education, receive a higher quality education, and outperform their rural counterparts. This “urban advantage” varies across countries, but is present in both the developed and developing world. A student’s socio-economic background partially contributes towards the difference in performance but a number of advantages such as better access to materials and human resources widen the gap.
As the urbanization trend continues around the world, education will be impacted in a number of ways. Theoretically, as an increased share of the world’s population move to urban areas education will become more accessible to a growing majority. However, in the developing world there are more significant barriers to education than merely residing in a rural setting. Notably, both the formal and informal costs of attending school prevent the poorest children from gaining access to education. Additional problems are also created; as rural to urban migration continues there is a rise in informal settlements, this makes the provision of education a greater challenge and can increase inequality within schools.
A disparity between urban and rural education is a common trend witnessed across both the developed and developing world. There is evidence for an “urban advantage” across OECD countries, while children in the developing world are more likely to have access to education if they live in urban areas. In Nigeria, 80% of school-age children who do attend school reside in rural areas. Rural schools commonly have less adequate resources (both human and material) and facilities, greatly hindering students’ achievement potential.
A growing majority of the world’s population are now urban dwellers, a trend which has been closely correlated with a rise in incomes and an increased focus on services in the contemporary economy. However, the developing world is experiencing significantly faster rates of urbanization than developed countries; it is predicts that city populations in Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to grow on average 16% between 2016 and 2025.
Urbanization in developing regions can improve overall access to education facilities and provide better resources to a larger share of the population. Additionally, an increased urban population reduces the number of children making extremely long journeys just to attend school, as urban children will likely live closer to a school than their rural counterparts. These long journeys have been shown to negatively impact children’s health, safety and educational achievement.
The report "Urban Education: The benefits of urban education, the argument for decentralization, and the impact on the local economy" provides detailed analysis to help the reader understand current and future educational matters likely to affect both developed and developing urban markets.
- Urban students commonly receive a better education than their rural counterparts due to factors such as better resources. As urbanization continues the gap between rural and urban education is expected to widen.
- Urbanization in the developing world will make the provision of education difficult due to rising demand for urban school places and the surging number of people living in informal settlements. By 2050, as many as two billion people are expected to live in slums in the developing world.
- Evidence from both the developed and developing world suggests decentralization of education produces benefits. As the urban population rises, a larger share of students will be impacted by decentralization and improving the quality of education will be one of the main contributing factors for achieving long term economic growth.
- Analysis of 360 US cities shows a positive correlation between further education attainment and a number of beneficial economic factors including service sector employment and GDP per capita.
- Urbanization is a fast occurring trend which is changing the world in a number of ways and understanding the impact urbanization is having will be essential to identify future opportunities.
- Education is a salient contributor to an economy's long term development and influences a number of important factors. This report provides a detailed understanding of the impact education has on urban areas and what urbanization means for education in the future, giving the reader sufficient information to make effective business decisions.
Section 1: Rural versus urban education
Section 1. Urban students commonly receive a better education than their rural counterparts
Section 1. Urbanization can increase access to education: Developed countries
Section 1. Urbanization can increase access to education: Developing countries
Section 2: Urbanization and decentralization of education
Section 3: Impact on the local economy
Section 3. Further education benefits an economy substantially
Section 3. Example: United States
Section 4: Key findings and Recommendations
Acronyms and definitions
List of Exhibits
Exhibit 1: Tertiary education attainment: Country level versus capital city 2015 7
Exhibit 2: OECD countries: GDP growth and tertiary education income growth, 2000-2010 13
Exhibit 3: Mean household income (US$) versus further education attainment (%) 2016 14
Exhibit 4: Financial Intermediation & Real Estate (% of GVA) versus further education attainment (%) 2016 14
Exhibit 5: Services (% of total employment) versus further education attainment (%) 2016 15
Exhibit 6: Agriculture (% of total employment) versus further education attainment (%) 2016 15
Exhibit 7: Unemployment Rate (%) versus further education attainment (%) 2016 16
Exhibit 8: GDP per capita (PPP) versus further education attainment (%) 2016