Urban environment

What is urbanicity?

Studies of urbanicity have defined exposure to urban environments in various ways either consisting of urban-rural comparisons or as defined according to population density which can include mixed urban-suburban-rural areas. The majority define urbanicity by degrees of population density, defined either as population per square kilometre or as the number of inhabitants within a defined location (e.g., capital, city, or town). Time of exposure to urbanicity also varies in different studies. Exposure may be assessed at birth, during upbringing or at illness onset.

What is the evidence for urbanicity as a risk factor for schizophrenia?

Moderate to high quality evidence finds a small increase in the incidence (new cases) of schizophrenia with increased urbanicity measured prior to, or after, illness onset. There were no differences found in overall prevalence rates according to urban, mixed or rural environments.

March 2019

Last updated at: 5:11 am, 16th March 2019
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