Regions and Cities at a Glance

Regions and Cities at a Glance provides a comprehensive assessment of how regions and cities across the OECD are progressing in a number of aspects connected to economic development, health, well-being and the net zero-carbon transition. It presents indicators on individual regions and cities to assess disparities within countries and their evolution since the turn of the new millennium. Each indicator is illustrated by graphs and maps. The report covers all OECD countries and, where data is available, partner countries and economies.

The data in this note reflect different sub-national geographic levels in OECD countries:

  • Regions are classified on two territorial levels reflecting the administrative organisation of countries: large regions (TL2) and small regions (TL3). Small regions are classified according to their access to metropolitan areas (Fadic et al. 2019).

  • Functional urban areas consist of cities – defined as densely populated local units with at least 50 000 inhabitants – and adjacent local units connected to the city (commuting zones) in terms of commuting flows (Dijkstra, Poelman, and Veneri 2019). Metropolitan areas refer to functional urban areas above 250 000 inhabitants.

In addition, some indicators use the degree of urbanisation classification (OECD et al. 2021), which defines three types of areas:

  • Cities consist of contiguous grid cells that have a density of at least 1 500 inhabitants per km2 or are at least 50% built up, with a population of at least 50 000.
  • Towns and semi-dense areas consist of contiguous grid cells with a density of at least 300 inhabitants per km2 and are at least 3% built up, with a total population of at least 5 000.
  • Rural areas are cells that do not belong to a city or a town and semi-dense area. Most of these have a density below 300 inhabitants per km2.

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