Measuring urban health

Since 2007, the majority of the world's population lives in urban areas. The impact of urbanization on population health, health equity and the environment are key concerns for national and municipal authorities.

At WHO Kobe Centre we have three main initiatives for measuring and monitoring urban health:

1. to work with city and national officials to translate evidence into action;
2. to develop a global observatory as a one-stop shop for data and knowledge on urban health;
3. to develop methods and standards for measuring and monitoring urban health.


One billion people more in urban areas since 2000

The rapid pace of urbanization:
A billion more people were added to urban areas within a span of 14 years. Global urban population increased from 2.86 billion in 2000 to 3.88 billion in 2014. The recently released 2014 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects shows that urban population as a proportion of total population has risen from 47% in 2000 to 54% in 2014.

Publication: “A flexible Urban Health Index for small area disparities”

May 2014 -- A new publication in the Journal of Urban Health presents an Urban Health Index (UHI), developed jointly by the WHO Kobe Centre and its partners at the School of Public Health, Georgia State University (Atlanta, USA). The UHI can be used to identify and map intra-urban disparities in health determinants or outcomes. The UHI is a novel measure, whose method rather than content is standardized, and may be of use for local evaluation, for decision making, and for area comparison.

Handbook on Health Inequality Monitoring with a special focus on low-and middle-income countries

July 2013 -- The World Health Organization has recently published a handbook on “Health Inequality Monitoring”. The handbook is focused on building the practical knowledge and skills for systematic monitoring of health inequalities in low- and middle-income countries.

WKC Publication: “Inequalities in noncommunicable disease mortality in the ten largest Japanese cities”

June 2013 -- A publication prepared by the WHO Kobe Centre, “Inequalities in noncommunicable disease mortality in the ten largest Japanese cities”, was published by the Journal of Urban Health. This study focused on the ten largest cities in Japan and, using publicly available administrative data, analysed standardized mortality ratios to examine inequalities in relative mortality levels due to major noncommunicable diseases at both city and subcity levels.

Contact us

World Health Organization Centre for Health Development
1-5-1 Wakinohama-Kaigandori
Chuo-ku, Kobe 651-0073
Telephone: (+81) 78-230-3100
Fax: (+81) 78-230-3178