Picture this: Moving on UP - Two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

Abstract

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

Today, over half of the world’s population lives in cities. By 2050, this proportion is estimated to grow to 66 percent, according to a new report from the United Nations. Just three countries—India, China, and Nigeria—are expected to account for 37 percent of the projected growth of the world’s urban population between 2014 and 2050.

The most urbanized regions today include North America and Latin America. In contrast, Africa and Asia remain mostly rural. Over the coming decades, urbanization is expected to increase in all regions, with Africa and Asia urbanizing faster than the rest.

The report notes that there will be more than 40 megacities worldwide by 2030, each with a population of at least 10 million. Tokyo is the world’s largest city, with a population of 38 million. Although its population is expected to decline slightly, Tokyo will remain the world’s largest city in 2030, with 37 million people, followed closely by New Delhi with 36 million people.

A MAJORITY OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION LIVES IN CITIES

As the world continues to urbanize, the most important development challenges will be concentrated in cities, especially in lower middle-income countries, where the pace of urbanization is fastest. The report stresses that cities will need to generate better income and employment opportunities, ensure equal access to services, and expand infrastructure for water and sanitation, transportation, housing, energy, and information and communications.

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WORLD’S LARGEST CITIES IN 2014

Citation: Finance & Development 51, 004; 10.5089/9781484315422.022.A015

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NUMBER OF URBAN RESIDENTS VARIES GREATLY BY REGION

Citation: Finance & Development 51, 004; 10.5089/9781484315422.022.A015

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NUMBER OF MEGACITIES

Citation: Finance & Development 51, 004; 10.5089/9781484315422.022.A015

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URBAN POPULATION

Citation: Finance & Development 51, 004; 10.5089/9781484315422.022.A015

Prepared by Natalie Ramírez-Djumena, a Senior Editor on the staff of Finance & Development. Text and charts are based on World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision, Highlights, published by the United Nations in July 2014. The report is available at esa.un.org/unpd/wup/Highlights/WUP2014-Highlights.pdf

Finance & Development, December 2014
Author: International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.