The concern of this chapter is with two centre-size distributions: the rank-size distribution and the Pareto distribution. These are compared in terms of similarities and differences. In the past the two distributions have sometimes been treated a single distribution, and it is argued that this is not helpful. While both distributions describe an actual system of centres equally well, the rank-size distribution is shown to have several advantages over the Pareto distribution. Each distribution can be applied cross-sectionally among nations, as well as longitudinally within individual nations. While both distributions are able to describe and characterise actual systems, consideration is given to the question as to whether these are able to contribute formulation and execution of urban policy.
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