By 2050 it’s predicted that 68% of the world’s population will live in a major city — that’s 2 in 3 people. According to this recent article, less than 10% of people lived in urban areas in 1800. Today, more than 4.3 billion people or 55% of the world’s population live in urban settings.
This macro-level societal force will converge with forces from other domains to shape an uncertain future. One such domain is technology, where the rise of smart cities will coincide with the rise of megacities. What is a megacity?
Mass migration from rural areas to urban centers gives rise to megacities—cities housing more than 10 million people, which are often the centers of economic activity in a given country. New York and Tokyo were the first to be recognized as megacities in the 1950s. Today, there are 32 megacities across the globe, and this number is set to grow.Govind Bhutada – Mapped: The World’s Next Megacities by 2030
The potential for urbanization is high. While high income countries have a high percentage of their populations living in urban areas, the most low-income populations live in rural areas. Five of the nine projected megacities are in Asia. This graphic uses data from UN World Urbanization Prospects (2018) to map cities that are projected to turn into megacities by 2030.