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Applications of the GHSL

Classes of the Degree of urbanisation

Grid for 2014

Settlement types

  • 30
    URBAN CENTRE
  • 23
    DENSE URBAN CLUSTER
  • 22
    SEMI-DENSE URBAN CLUSTER
  • 21
    SUBURBAN GRID CELL
  • 13
    RURAL CLUSTER
  • 12
    LOW DENSITY RURAL GRID CELL
  • 11
    VERY LOW DENSITY GRID CELL

The Degree of Urbanisation classifies the entire territory of a country along the urban-rural continuum. It combines population size and population density thresholds to capture the full settlement hierarchy. 1 km2 grid cells are classified based on population density, contiguity and population size. The main settlement typologies are presented below.

Urban centre (or high density cluster)

Urban Centre

Sample extracted from Africa
Consists of contiguous grid cells with a density of at least 1,500 inhabitants per km2. An urban centre has population of at least 50,000. Gaps in this cluster are filled and edges are smoothed. If needed, cells that are 50% built-up can be added.
Urban cluster (or moderate density clusters)

Town

Sample extracted from Africa

Suburb

Sample extracted from Northern America
Consists of contiguous grid cells with a density of at least 300 inhabitants per km2 and has a population of at least 5,000 in the cluster (The urban centres are subsets of the corresponding urban clusters).
Rural grid cells (mostly low density cells)

Village

Sample extracted from Latin America

Dispersed Rural Area

Sample extracted from Asia
Cells that do not belong to an urban cluster. Most of these will have a density below 300 inhabitants per km2. Some rural cells will have a higher density, but they are not part of cluster with a large enough population size to be classified as an urban cluster.
Basemaps attribution
© OpenStreetMap (and) contributors, CC-BY-SA 1:85.000
ESRI, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AeroGRID, IGN, and the GIS User Community 1:6.000