Source: Asian Development Bank, Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2012
Building on, or perhaps complimentary to, my earlier post here, above is a different take on Southeast Asia’s urban population.
Sadly again the data, gratefully sourced from here, is somewhat dated, but is still (I believe) reasonably accurate.
What to say about any correlations? Nothing particularly jumps out at me, not least because the figures lack the granular detail to offer much certainty. Indicators that don’t appear to correlate with the data above include wealth…total population size…total land mass.
Possible correlations I couldn’t rule out include political stability, although that is such a dynamic and difficult measure that a five/six year time lag makes any comparison deeply flawed. I suppose I could state the near obvious negative correlation, that the higher the urban population percentage the lower the non-urban population percentage engaged in/associated with agricultural areas/industries.
On the premise that agricultural labour is generally less productive than urbanised labour and that those already living in urban areas have reached their peak wealth then this could indicate that the lower the urban population percentage the higher the potential future wealth of the country (as the workers shift to hgher paying urban jobs).
In other words, all other measures being equal, the percentage of non-urban population multplied by size of the non-urban population potentially equals the underlying economic capacity to further increase national wealth.*
That would suggest that on the figures above that Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand have the biggest economic growth potential from this point. If I had to bet my own money I’d put it on Vietnam and Indonesia to make the best use of their national opportunities, but there are so many variables and dynamcs at play that it would be a very unsafe bet.
* Although I have done some economics I would never claim expertise. I’d be happy for more talented economists than I (which is almost anyone) to point out the almost inevitable problems with my logic here.