A UN report on the explosion in the world's urban population has found that, while the world's population is just months away from becomingly predominantly urban, three European states remain largely rural: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Moldova. In all three countries, 47 percent of the population live in towns and cities. In all three countries, the rate of urbanization is creeping up, but Moldova's slower predicted increase -- 0.3 percent between 2005 and 2010 -- suggests it will soon clearly be Europe's most rural state.
On a related note, the Moldovan news agency IPN on June 27 quoted Ghenadie Ivascenco, the head of the Habitat-Moldova Center, a joint project between the UN and the Moldovan government, as saying that migration and, to a lesser degree, reruralization have caused a substantial fall in the population of some cities: over the past 15 years, the populations of Orhei and Soroca have plunged by one-third, Ungheni and Cahul have seen theirs shrink by almost a quarter, while Balti's population has dropped by roughly 20 percent. Moldova's birthrate is also falling. Emigration and a falling birthrate resulted in a 0.5 percent annual decline in Moldova's population between 1989 and 2004. The UN report expects Moldova's population to fall by 0.2 percent a year between 2005 and 2010.