One of the defining and most lasting features of the Industrial Revolution was the rise of cities. In pre-industrial society, over 80% of people lived in rural areas. As migrants moved from the countryside, small towns became large cities. By 1850, for the first time in world history, more people in a country—Great Britain—lived in cities than in rural areas. As other countries in Europe and North America industrialized, they too continued along this path of urbanization. By 1920, a majority of Americans lived in cities. In England, this process of urbanization continued throughout the 19th century. The city of London grew from a population of two million in 1840 to five million forty years later (Hobsawm, Industry and Empire 159).


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