The Largest Urban Areas Around the World

The Largest Urban Areas Around the World

Believe it or not, more than half of the world’s living areas have become urban, which means that when someone says he or she is an urban resident, it no longer implies they live in New York, Tokyo, London or Shanghai. Truth be told, there are almost 40 megacities today, and these densely populated areas have over 10 million residences, however, only 8.4 percent of the world’s population actually lives there. The majority of the world lives in rural areas and urban areas that are under 100,000 people, which really makes sense. 

It is a challenge to live in a megacity since it requires higher income, there is more pollution, and we all need peace and quiet to rest. Yet, with the modernization and advancements in technology, rural areas become more attractive to live in, which then leads to urbanization, so, the number of urban areas is likely to continue to grow. Now, let us go over some of the most recent rankings of the urban areas around the world. 

Urban Areas Distribution

When it comes to population density Asia is without a doubt a reigning champion, as almost 60% of the world population lives there. In other words, the number of urban areas in Asia is five times higher than the number of urban areas in Africa, or North America for example. Australia and New Zealand, on the other hand, have the lowest number of urban areas, and if you combine their regions with a population of over 500,000 you will only get a population of around 16.5 million which is a bit more than LA and on par with Bangkok and Moscow. 

Currently, the largest urban area in the world is Tokyo-Yokohama, boasting a population of 38.5 million, and that has been the case for the past 60 years. Jakarta is a runner-up and it is slowly catching up with a population of 34.4 million. Spot number 3 goes to Delhi and according to the latest counts, it has a population of 28.1 million. Manila is fourth and the fifth place goes to Seoul-Incheon.

The previous town that was on position number 5 was Shanghai, but thanks to the population growth control it has dropped to spot number 7, right behind Mumbai. New York ranks 8th, Sao Paulo 9th, and Mexico City 10th. London has recently acquired the status of a megacity and it currently has a population of nearly 11 million which makes it 35th on the list.

Speculations for the upcoming decades

If we examine the current pattern we can see that high-income countries are slowly losing their ranks. Still, Tokyo and Seoul will definitely remain in the top 10 even by 2030, but New York is likely to drop to 12th position. In fact, according to the projections of the United Nations almost the entire world’s population growth will be in lower-income areas.