Reading national signatures in urbanisation-income space

This interactive data visual examines the relationship between economic growth and urbanisation, with an introductory video focusing on the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It is based on research by IIED, and a guide to its use can be found underneath the visual.

Article, 08 September 2014

Guide to use

To use the above data visual, start by listening to the introductory video which takes a special look at the BRICS. Alternatively, or if you have already viewed the introductory video, go directly into interactive mode by clicking on the options at the top of the screen.

You can watch the countries move across income-urbanisation space by either clicking on the timeline button and moving it to the right - charting progress from 1980-2010, or by clicking on the 2010 end-year button. You can also highlight individual countries to follow by clicking on their circles, and see each country's statistics change on the upper left-hand side.

The data visual complements a blog written by IIED principal researcher Gordon McGranahan that illustrates examples of countries' urbanisation-income signatures and explores some of the conclusions that can be drawn from the study.

All statistics are taken from the World Bank Open Data (accessed in May 2014). The Urbanisation concepts and trends publication includes a discussion of the limitations to statistics on urbanisation, some of which derive from the lack of any internationally agreed definition of 'urban'. There is also a large literature on the limitations of GDP statistics.

Citation: McGranahan, G; Walnycki, A; Clark, D; Houston, R. 2014, Reading national signatures in income-urbanisation space, Visualisation. International Institute for Environment and Development (

This interactive visualisation was created by Kiln. It was funded by UK aid from the UK government. However, the views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the UK government.

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