Atanu Dey On India's Development

19.20.21

19 cities of the world with
20 million people in the
21st century

See 19.20.21 for a quick overview of the defining megatrend of the 21st century: the rise of supercities.

In the year 1800, less than 3% of the world lived in cities. Most people lived their entire lives without ever seeing one.

In 1900, 150 million people live in the world’s cities. That number has now surged past 3 billion and last year crossed another tipping point: more than half the people on earth now live in cities. By 2050 – it will be more than 2/3 of us. Humans are now an urban species, cramming into vast urban agglomerations.

Also from the presentation at the site, I note that in the year 1900, the world’s 10 largest cities were (in descending order of population) London, New York City, Paris, Berlin, Chicago, Vienna, Tokyo, St Petersburg, Manchester, and Philadelphia. The combined population of those 10 cities was approximately 26 million. By 2005, just Tokyo — the largest city then — itself had 35 million people, followed by Mexico City with 19.4 million. Mumbai with 18.2 million is listed 5th.

There is a definite trend and a correlation between the growth of cities and the progress of human civilization. India needs to figure out how to manage the transition of its rural population into livable cities. Without the urbanization of India’s rural population it is not even remotely possible for India to work its way out of poverty.

[For more on this topic, see the posts on Cities and Urbanization.]

  • amar

    Atanu,

    Are you related to these people?

    Also from the presentation at the site, I note that in the year 1900 ..

    Or, am I parsing the above sentence wrongly?

  • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

    Amar, note I wrote “from” and not “in” — which signals that I don’t have anything to do with the presentation.