TWO out of every three people will live in cities by 2050, giving rise to the creation of megacities predominantly in China, India and Nigeria, according to a United Nations report released Wednesday.
The general migration from rural to urban areas, combined with overall population growth, will lead to the planet having 43 megacities by 2030, each home to more than 10 million people.
The year 2046 will mark an inflection point when more than half the Indian population will be urban.
North America now has the most urbanized regions (with 82 per cent of its population living in urban areas in 2018), while the corresponding figure for Latin America and the Caribbean is 81 per cent, followed by Europe (74 per cent) and Oceania (68 per cent).
The rural population of the world has grown slowly since 1950 and is expected to reach its peak in a few years.
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That's not all, however - around the same time, India will also most likely surpass China as the country with the largest population.
Today, 55% of the world's population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050.
The urbanization data projected that in 2030 the urban agglomeration of Mumbai will hold on to its rank as the sixth largest with a population of 25 million, up from 19 million in 2015. Several cities in countries of Eastern Europe, such as Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, have lost population since 2000 as well. The population of Arkhangelsk, Kazan, Krasnoyarsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Perm, Rostov-on-Don and other cities will either stabilize or slightly grow.
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. However, some of the fastest-growing urban agglomerations are cities with fewer than a million inhabitants, many of them located in Asia and Africa.
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That will add up to an extra 416 people in towns and cities in India, 255 million in China and 189 million in Nigeria.
India's current rural population of 893 million is the largest in the world and is 59.1 per cent of India's total population of 1.35 billion. UN DESA's Population Division said it has been issuing reports on urbanisation since 1988.
Population Division director John Wilmoth said: "When urban growth is rapid, insuring access to housing, water, sanitation, electricity, public transport, education and health care for all is especially challenging".
The report recommends governments adopt better integrated policies on infrastructure and social services to improve the lives of urban and rural dwellers.
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