World’s Largest Megacities

by | 20 January 2015

The world is becoming decidely urban, according to the 2014 World Urbanization Prospects report of the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA). In fact, 54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050, that number is expected to grow to 66 percent. To put that growth in perspective, in 1950 just 30 percent of the world’s population was urban. That was roughly about 746 million in 1950 compared to 3.9 billion in 2014.

The report indicates that India, China and Nigeria will account for the bulk of the world’s urban growth by 2050. These three countries are projected to make up 37 percent of estimated world urban population between 2014 and 2050. Currently, Asia claims 54 percent of the world’s urban population, with Europe (14 percent) and Latin America and Carribean far behind (13 percent).

By 2045, the world’s urban population will exceed 6 billion. And by 2030, there are projected to be 41 megacities (urban areas with more than 10 million inhabitants) across the globe. If you consider that there were just 10 megacities in 1990, that’s spectacular growth. Currently, there are 28 megacities in the world that are home to some 453 million people or 12 percent of the world’s urban population. Asia accounts for 16 of these megacities. Four are in Latin America, three in Africa and Europe, and two are in North America.

Tokyo is the world’s largest city, with a population of over 38 million inhabitants. The largest urban area in the United States is New York — Newark (N.J.), with nearly 19 million dwellers. Which cities made up the list of 10 large megacities in the world? Read on – and also check out the rest of the report for some other interesting facts and figures.

Here are the top 10 largest megacities in reverse order (2014 population listed in parentheses):

10. Al-Qahirah (Cairo), Egypt (18,419,000)



9. New York – Newark, U.S.A. (18,591,000)



8. Beijing, China (19,520,000)



7. Kinki M.M.A. (Osaka), Japan (20,123,000)



6. Mumbai (Bombay), India (20,741,000)



5. São Paulo, Brazil (20,831,000)



4. Ciudad de México (Mexico City), Mexico (20,843,000)



3. Shanghai, China (22,991,000)



2. Delhi, India (24,953,000)



1. Tokyo, Japan (37,833,000)



For more information, read the full report.