Reuters/Mansi Thapliyal

New York, Osaka, and Sao Paulo won't even make the top 10.

Tokyo is the undisputed champion of mega-citiesWith a population of 37.8 million, it dwarfs second-place DelhiThe Japanese capital has such a big lead in population that even though it’s expected to lose about half a million people over the next 16 years, it will still be the world’s biggest metropolis in 2030, according to a new report by the United Nations:

Some of the other mega-cities on the 2014 list won’t be quite as persistent—by 2030, New York, Osaka, and Sao Paulo will no longer make the top 10, and Mexico City will barely hang on as the sole representative outside of Asia and AfricaThis reflects the major shift driven by the urbanization in Asia and Africa, particularly in India (404 million projected new city dwellers by 2030), China (292 million), and Nigeria (212 million).

Why is the balance shifting so radically? Mostly because the rest of the world is already highly urbanized, while Africa and Asia still have a long way to go:

Africa and Asia are home to nearly 90% of the world’s remaining rural population, the UN report notesIndia has the most rural dwellers, with 857 million, followed by China’s 635 millionBut those people are steadily moving into cities, and in the process tilting the percentage of the world’s population that lives in urban areas:

So what will the world map of mega-cities look like in 2030? Try to wrap your mind around this:

This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.
 

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of a tiny house in Oregon
    Design

    How Amazon Could Transform the Tiny House Movement

    Could the e-commerce giant help turn small-home living from a niche fad into a national housing solution?

  2. The downtown St. Louis skyline.
    Perspective

    Downtown St. Louis Is Rising; Black St. Louis Is Being Razed

    Square co-founder Jack Dorsey is expanding the company’s presence in St. Louis and demolishing vacant buildings on the city’s north side.

  3. Environment

    What U.S. Cities Facing Climate Disaster Risks Are Least Prepared?

    New studies find cities most vulnerable to climate change disasters—heat waves, flooding, rising seas, drought—are the least prepared.

  4. Warren Logan
    Transportation

    A City Planner Makes a Case for Rethinking Public Consultation

    Warren Logan, a Bay Area transportation planner, has new ideas about how to truly engage diverse communities in city planning. Hint: It starts with listening.

  5. a photo of Housing Secretary Ben Carson in Baltimore in July.
    Equity

    How HUD Could Dismantle a Pillar of Civil Rights Law

    The Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to revise the “disparate impact” rule, which could fundamentally reshape federal fair housing enforcement.  

×