Africa and Asia together will account for 86 per cent of all growth in the world’s urban population over the next four decades. This unprecedented increase will pose new challenges in terms of jobs, housing and infrastructure.
Africa’s urban population will increase from 414mn to over 1.2bn by 2050 while that of Asia will soar from 1.9bn to 3.3bn, according to the 2011 Revision of the World Urbanization Prospects, produced by the UN Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).
Projections of urban population growth
The largest increases in urban population are expected in the following countries: India, China, Nigeria, the United States and Indonesia. Over the next four decades, India will add another 497mn to its urban population; China – 341mn, Nigeria – 200mn, the US – 103mn, and Indonesia – 92mn.
The projected increase in urban populations in India and Nigeria in the next 40 years will be higher than that of the past four decades.
“What we are seeing is the very rapid growth of megacities,” the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in DESA, Jomo Kwame Sundaram, told reporters at the launch of the 2011 Revision. He noted that in 1970, only 39mn people lived in so-called megacities with 10mn or more inhabitants – in other words, less than three per cent of the world’s population at that time.
By 2011, 359mn people lived in these megacities – the equivalent to 9.9 per cent of the urban population of the world. In 2025, some 630mn will live in these megacities – some 13.6 per cent of the world’s urban population by then, he stated.