Agglomeration Index: Towards a New Measure of Urban Concentration

Hirotsugu Uchida*, Andrew Nelson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The United Nations (UN) compiles information on urbanization (urban population and its share of total national population) that is reported by various countries. But there is no standardized definition of 'urban', resulting in inconsistencies. This situation is particularly troublesome if one wishes to conduct a cross-country analysis or determine the aggregate urbanization status of the regions and the world. This chapter proposes an alternative measure of urban concentration, an agglomeration index (AI). It is based on three factors: population density, population of 'large' city centre, and travel time to that large city centre. The main objective of AI is to provide a consistent definition of settlement concentration to conduct cross-country comparative and aggregated analyses. As an accessible measure of economic density, AI lends itself to the study of concepts such as agglomeration rents in urban areas, the 'thickness' of a market, and the travel distance to such a market.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrbanization and Development
Subtitle of host publicationMultidisciplinary Perspectives
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780191595493
ISBN (Print)9780199590148
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Accessibility map
  • Agglomeration index
  • Cost surface
  • Urbanization


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