The world’s urban population is currently growing at four times the rate of the rural population (1). Between 1990 and 2025, the number of people living in urban areas is projected to double to more than 5 billion; if it does, then almost two thirds of the world’s population will be living in towns and cities. An estimated 90 percent of the increase will occur in developing countries (2). (See Urban Growth Spurt Continues.) Urbanization is rapid in the fast-growing economies of the Asia-Pacific region, where the average annual urban growth rate is more than 4 percent. Yet the fastest urbanization rates are now occurring in some of the least developed countries. Africa has the highest urban growth rate of all world regions: 5 percent per year (3). (See Africa and Asia are Urbanizing Fastest.)
|Expected Growth in Cities with Populations of 8 Million or More, 1995 and 2015|
|Mexico City, Mexico||16.56||19.18|
|São Paulo, Brazil||16.53||20.32|
|New York, United States||16.33||17.60|
|Los Angeles, United States||12.41||14.22|
|Buenos Aires, Argentina||11.80||13.86|
|Seoul, Korea, Rep.||11.61||12.98|
|Lagos, Nigeria *||10.29||24.61|
|Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||10.18||11.86|
|Delhi, India *||9.95||16.86|
|Karachi, Pakistan *||9.73||19.38|
|Metro Manila, Philippines *||9.29||14.66|
|Moscow, Russian Fed.||9.27||9.30|
|Jakarta, Indonesia *||8.62||13.92|
|Source: United Nations (U.N.) Population Division, Urban Agglomerations, 1950-2015 (The 1996 Revision), on diskette (U.N., New York, 1996).
Note: * Cities expected to grow by >50% by 2015.
1. United Nations (U.N.) Population Division, World Urbanization Prospects: The 1996 Revision, Annex Tables (U.N., New York, 1997), pp. 44, 48.
2. World Resources Institute in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Development Programme, and the World Bank, World Resources Report 1996- 97 (Oxford University Press, New York, 1996), p. 3.
3. The World Bank, World Development Report 1997 (The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1997), p. 231.