Difference between Industrialization and Urbanization

Key Difference: The term industrialization generally refers to the process of shifting from hand production to machine production. The term urbanization refers to the process of people migrating from rural areas (such as villages and towns) to large cities.

The terms industrialization and urbanization are often used in tandem during history or sociology, which might result in many confusing the two terms of be synonymous. However, these two terms are completely different from each other.

When history talks of industrialization, it mostly describes a period in time when a country or a nation shifted from small cottage industries to large factories and big-scale industries. Many developed countries experienced industrialization between 1760 and 1840, which originally started in the United Kingdom and later effected Europe and even the United States.

The term industrialization generally refers to the process of shifting from hand production to machine production. This brought about many changes within the society and the economy of the country. One major result of industrialization was the rise of capitalism, where money and big companies played a huge role in the government policies.

Science and Technology were two sectors that received the most prominence, with many new inventions were being founded during this period. However, industrialization also has many negative effects including exploitation of the working class, exploitation of the environment, and so on.

Now, when we discuss urbanization, we must talk about the fact that urbanization is actually a byproduct of industrialization. A majority of urbanization happened because of large-scale industries being established.

The big factories and companies needed a large number of workers that worked long hours. Hence, they needed to live close by to these factories. Many workers grouped together and created small establishments in an area near the industry. As factories increased in numbers, so did the community that lived close by. This is basically urbanization.

Let’s define urbanization properly. The term urbanization refers to the process of people migrating from rural areas (such as villages and towns) to large cities. Originally, the migration was to find work in these big factories, but today shifting to large cities are often to find better housing, education, work and other facilities.

Similarly, even urbanization are two sides of the same coin – one with positive effects and the other with negative. Advantages of urbanization included better pay, more opportunities, better access to facilities, etc. While, the negative aspects of urbanization include alienation, exploitation of humans, high costs of living, expensive housing and facilities, and even exploitation of the environment.  

Yes, both industrialization and urbanization are related to each other and industrialization is the cogs that set the urbanization wheel in motion, however, they are not the same and should definitely not be confused for each other.

Comparison between Industrialization and Urbanization:





The process of shifting from an agrarian society to an industrial society

The process of shifting from rural villages to more urban cities

Comes first

Industrialization must happen in order for urbanization to follow

Urbanization is the result of industrialization


More industries develop such as factories

More cities develop such as houses, stores, etc.


Is more important for the sustenance of an country

Is important for the sustenance of a community or people in general


Near large bodies of water (salted, freshwater)

Near large bodies of Freshwater


Machines, tools, better transportation

Better housing structures, urban planning, public health


Increased jobs

Products are cheaper

Increase in the country’s GDP

Increase in earnings

Higher job opportunities



  • Affects environment negatively
  • Pollution of land, water and air
  • Takes away from small specialty craft makers
  • Affects Environment
  • Pollution of land, water and air
  • No community relations
  • Overpopulation
  • Expensive life style

Image Courtesy: environmentinsider.com, slideshare.net

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