May 20, 2018

'Delhi to overtake Tokyo as most populous city by 2028'

18 May 2018, 04:22 | Winifred Adams

By 2028, Delhi to become world's most populated city: UN report

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

Delhi is projected to become the most populous city in the world around 2028, according to new United Nations estimates released here today, which said India is expected to add the largest number of urban dwellers by 2050.

In 2015, the Delhi urban agglomeration - which includes the capital and its contiguous satellite towns - had an estimated population of 25.9 million but that will grow by 67.6% over two decades to cross 43 mn according to World Urbanisation Prospects, a report by the UN's population division.

Some cities have experienced population decline in recent years.

Sydney, Australia's most populous urban center, has announced plans to split into three smaller cities by 2040 to improve housing, quality of life and governance. The population of Arkhangelsk, Kazan, Krasnoyarsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Perm, Rostov-on-Don and other cities will either stabilize or slightly grow. It will also see Bengaluru overtaking Chennai as the country's fourth largest urban centre and Surat overtaking Pune to become the eighth largest.

Tokyo's aging population is projected to stay constant at the current level of 37 million, according to the data accompanying the report. For those surprised that Kozhikode rather than Kochi enters the list from Kerala, here is even more surprising news.

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.

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

This increased pressure is giving rise to so-called megacities - those with more than 10 million inhabitants. DESA stresses that sustainable urbanisation is essential to successful development. Most of these are located in the low-fertility countries of Asia and Europe where overall population sizes are stagnant or declining.

The report found that the global rural population is now close to 3.4 billion, but is expected to decline to 3.1 billion by 2050.

"When urban growth is rapid, ensuring access to housing, water, sanitation, electricity, public transport, education and health care for all is especially challenging", John Wilmoth, director of the Population Division, said at a United Nations news conference, according to Reuters. Africa and Asia are home to almost 90% of the world's rural population in 2018.

The report added that linkages between urban and rural areas would need to be strengthened, building on their existing economic, social and environmental ties.

That will add up to an extra 416 people in towns and cities in India, 255 million in China and 189 million in Nigeria. "We find that urban populations have better access to health care and education".

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