Delhi to overtake Tokyo as world's most populated city in 10 years

68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, says UN

By 2050, it is projected that India will have added 416 million people to its urban population, while the corresponding figures for China and Nigeria are 255 million and 189 million, respectively, according to Reuters. "It is projected that India will have added 416 million urban dwellers, China 255 million and Nigeria 189 million", said Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) as it announced the findings in NY.

Today, 55% of the world's population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. Shanghai is home to 26 million, Mexico City and Sao Paulo follow with 22 million each and then, Cairo, Mumbai, Beijing and Dhaka all have close to around 20 million people living there.

By 2028, the Indian capital, New Delhi, is projected to become the most populous city on the planet. "Tokyo remains the world's largest city in the world with over 37 million inhabitants".

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Currently, Asia is home to 54 percent of the world's urban population, though levels of urbanization are considered to be low in the region. The level of urbanization in Asia is now approximating 50 per cent.

However, a few cities in Japan and South Korea - for example, Nagasaki and Busan - have experienced population decline since 2000.

The report also estimates that by 2030, the world could have 43 so-called megacities (up from 31 today, according to reports) - those with more than 10 million inhabitants - a lot of them in developing countries.

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This kind of population shift is typical of rapidly diversifying economies and a young population as people from villages move to cities like New Delhi and other urban centres around the country in search of employment opportunities. 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.

The boom in city-dwellers will be concentrated in certain countries, with 35% of urban expansion occurring in India, China and Nigeria alone between 2018 and 2050.

Megacities are set to dominate in India and China as world urban population increases. While one in eight people live in 33 megacities worldwide, close to half of the world's urban dwellers reside in much smaller settlements with fewer than 500,000 inhabitants. DESA stresses that sustainable urbanisation is essential to successful development.

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The report added that linkages between urban and rural areas would need to be strengthened, building on their existing economic, social and environmental ties. "We find that urban populations have better access to health care and education".

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