Page:1899 The Growth of Cities in the Nineteenth Century.djvu/29

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CHAPTER I.


INTRODUCTION.

1790.

Population of the United States ..................................... 3,929,214

Population of cities of 10,000 and more ........................... 123,551

Proportion living in cities of 10,000 and more .......... 3.14 per cent.

1891.

Population of the 7 colonies of Australia ....................... 3,809,895

Population of cities of 10,000 or more .......................... 1,264,283

Proportion living in cities of 10,000 or more............ 33.20 per cent.

That the most remarkable social phenomenon of the present century is the concentration of population in cities is a common observation, to which point is given by the foregoing comparison of two typical countries of different centuries. The Australia of to-day has the population of the America of 1790; it is peopled by men of the same race ; it is liberal and progressive and practical ; it is a virgin country with undeveloped resources; it is, to an equal extent, politically and socially independent of European influence. But Australia is of the nineteenth, rather than of the eighteenth century; and that is the vital fact which explains the striking difference in the distribution of population brought out by the introductory comparison. What is true of the Australia of 1891 is, in a greater or less degree, true of the other countries in the civilized world. The tendency towards concentration or agglomeration is all but universal in the Western world.

What are the forces that have produced such a shifting of population? Are they enduring? What is to be the ultimate result?

(1)