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Delhi will be world's most populous city by 2028, says UN report

17 May 2018

That is due to change, with India, China, and Nigeria accounting for 35% of the projected growth in urban populations between 2018 and 2050.

That will add up to an extra 416 people in towns and cities in India, 255 million in China and 189 million in Nigeria. And by 2050, 68 per cent of the world population will live in urban areas, increasing from 55 per cent now.

Three-quarters of Russians in 2050, or 110.6 million people, will live in urban areas.

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 - majority in developing countries. Asia, despite its relatively lower level of urbanization, is home to 54% of the world's urban population, followed by Europe and Africa with 13% each.

Two thirds of the world population will live in cities by 2050. The level of urbanization in Asia is now approximating 50 per cent. Africa is the least urban populated continent, with just 43% of its population living in cities. 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.

Some cities have experienced population decline in recent years.

Currently, 55 per cent of the world's population lives in urban areas.

Today, Cairo, Mumbai, Beijing and Dhaka all have close to 20 million inhabitants.

"Economic contraction and natural disasters have also contributed to population losses in some cities", the report said.

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. Urbanization will lead to a decline in Russia's rural population from 36.8 million to 22.1 million.

Tokyo with 37 million people is the world's largest city but this is because that can be overtaken by Delhi around 2028, the report stated.

The growth is caused by an accelerating shift from rural to urban living across the world, particularly in Asia, which despite hosting some of the world's largest cities has lagged behind other parts of the world in terms of overall urbanization. India, China and Nigeria will account for more than a third of that expansion.

"Managing urban growth to insure that it is sustainable has become one of the most important development challenges of the current century", he added.

In 32 years, India will be among the countries with highest growth in world's urban population, according to the United Nations.

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

Delhi will be world's most populous city by 2028, says UN report