by | Oct 9, 2017



Since the industrial revolution in the 1800s, there has been a steady increase the percentage of population living in cities. In 2008 an important milestone was achieved as more than half of the world’s population resided in an urban area (now it’s 54%). For comparison, 80% of the American population lives in an urban area. . Additionally, we’ve seen the rise of “megacities” – cities with a population of 10 million or more.  In 1975 there were three megacities (NY, Tokyo, Mexico City). In 1990 there were 10. Now there are 31 megacities! Here they are (data from the U.N. as of 2016)*:

31. Lima, Peru, 10,072,000

30. Madras, India, 10,163000

29. London, UK, 10,434,000

28. Bangalore, India, 10,456,000

27. Jakarta, Indonesia, 10,483,000

26. Shenzhen, China, 10,828,000

25. Paris, France, 10,925,000

24. Tianjin, China, 11,558,000

23. Kinshasa, Congo, 12,071,000

22. Moscow, Russia, 12,260,000

21. Los Angeles, USA, 12,317,000

20. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 12, 981,000

19. Guangzhou, China, 13,070,000

18. Manila, Philippines, 13,131,000

17. Lagos, Nigeria, 13,661,000

16. Chongqing, China, 13,744,000

15. Istanbul, Turkey, 14,365,000

14. Calcutta, India, 14,980,000

13. Buenos Aires, Argentina, 15,334,000

12. Karachi, Pakistan, 17,121,000

11. Dhaka, Bangladesh, 18,237,000

10. New York, USA, 18,604,000

9. Cairo, Egypt, 19,128,000

8. Osaka, Japan, 20,337,000

7. Mexico City, Mexico, 21,157,000

6. Beijing, China, 21,240,000

5. Sao Paulo, Brazil, 21,297,000

4. Mumbai, India, 21,357,000

3. Shanghai, China, 24,484,000

2. Delhi, India, 26,454,000

1.  Tokyo, Japan, 38,140,000

*Note the above population figures represent “urban agglomeration” which is the city boundary PLUS suburbs


  1. I remember about 20 years ago a speaker asked the audience the population of China. The consensus answer was 1 billion. The speaker said that’s what most people think. It was actually closer to 1,318,000,000. So consensus thought rounded off basically the population of the United States.

  2. There is a time when there are to many ants in the ant hill. I have experienced the growth of the Phoenix area over the last 30 years going from less than 1 million to almost 5 million. The growth has been managed well, but bigger does not always mean better. The rural life style I enjoyed in my youth had a lot going for it.


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