Urban growth fastest in India, China and Nigeria, says UN

Among other findings the report said in 1990 there were just ten megacities with populations of 10 million or more

Two-thirds of people in the world will be living in cities by 2050 and the boom will be concentrated in India, China and Nigeria, according to United Nations estimates released on Wednesday.

Owing to both demographic shifts and overall population growth, that means that around 2.5 billion people could be added to urban areas by the middle of the century, predicts the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

The general migration from rural to urban areas, combined with overall population growth, will lead to the planet having 43 megacities by 2030, each home to more than 10 million people. Tokyo, with 37 million people, is now the most populated city, followed by New Delhi with 29 million, Shanghai with 26 million and Mexico City and Sao Paulo, each with around 22 million dwellers. Together, India, China and Nigeria will account for 35% of the projected growth of the world's urban population between 2018 and 2050.

Tokyo is the world's largest city with an agglomeration of 37 million inhabitants, followed by New Delhi with 29 million, Shanghai with 26 million, and Mexico City and São Paulo, each with around 22 million inhabitants.

However, Delhi will overtake Tokyo in top spot by around 2028, the report said. While 90 per cent of the world's rural population in 2018 lives in Asia and Africa, the current 3.4 billion global rural population is expected to rise slightly in a few years and then decline to 3.1 billion by 2050.

By 2030, the world is projected to have 43 megacities with more than 10 million inhabitants, majority in developing regions.

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Some cities have experienced population decline in recent years.

As for rural populations, while they have continued to grow since 1950, it is expected to reach its peak in the next few years, before declining steadily. Currently, India's 1.3 billion population is split with just under 900 million living in rural areas and around 460 million in its cities. India already has five megacities, with populations in excess of 10 million people: New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai.

"When urban growth is rapid, insuring access to housing, water, sanitation, electricity, public transport, education and health care for all is especially challenging", Wilmoth said at a United Nations news conference.

The chairman of NPC, Eze Duruiheoma, stated this in NY while delivering Nigeria's statement on sustainable cities, human mobility and worldwide migration at the 51st session of commission on population and development.

The report recommends governments adopt better integrated policies on infrastructure and social services to improve the lives of urban and rural dwellers.

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