NEW YORK – The greater Tokyo area — with its current population of 35.7 million — is expected to maintain its No. 1 slot as the most populated urban area, according to the latest U.N. report released Tuesday.
“In 2025, Tokyo is still expected to be the world’s most populous urban agglomeration, with 36 million inhabitants,” according to “2007 Revisions of World Urbanization Prospects.”
The report projects the total urban and rural populations around the globe every two years.
It is estimated that while Tokyo will maintain its top position in the next 17 years, its growth is not expected to jump dramatically but should top out at roughly 36.4 million urban dwellers.
The report includes Tokyo plus those in 87 surrounding cities and towns, including Yokohama, Kawasaki and Chiba, in its definition of the area.
“Tokyo accounts for 42 percent of the urban population of Japan,” Hania Zlotnik, director of the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, told reporters at a conference to coincide with the release of the report.
“It is the only megacity that appears as a huge primary city among the cities of the world,” she added, explaining that a primary city is defined as one that has more than 40 percent of the population of a country.
Because other megacities do not account for such a high proportion of urban dwellers in their respective countries, they have more potential for growth, although most are not expected to grow very fast.
Zlotnik said that the fastest growth rates are anticipated in the African cities of Lagos and Kinshasa, as well as in the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Karachi, and Dhaka in Bangladesh.
Currently after Tokyo, the next most populous urban agglomerations are New York-Newark, Mexico City, Bombay and Sao Paulo, each with about 19 million inhabitants.
By 2025, however, after Tokyo, the report reveals that Bombay would be the second-largest, with a population of 26 million, followed by Delhi with 23 million, Dhaka with 22 million and Sao Paulo with 21 million.
Besides the top five, other Asian cities, including Calcutta, Shanghai, Karachi, Manila, Beijing, Jakarta, Guangzhou, Osaka-Kobe, Lahore, Shenzhen and Madras, are projected to be among the world’s 27 most populated.
By the end of this year, the newest figures indicate that half of the world’s population will live in urban areas for the first time in human history.
Between 2007 and 2050, the global urban population is forecast to increase by 3.1 billion, passing from 3.3 billion to 6.4 billion.
Asia in particular is projected to see its urban population increase by 1.8 billion, followed by Africa with 900 million, and Latin America and the Caribbean with 200 million.
Despite the projected increases in urbanization, much of the world, however, remains rural.
In Asia and Africa, six out of every 10 people still live in rural areas.
However, in the next four decades the two continents will experience a marked increase in urban dwellers, with Asia nearly doubling its numbers and Africa likely to treble its numbers.
By midcentury it is projected that most of the urban populations of the world will be centered in Asia, with 54 percent, and in Africa, with 19 percent.