China is expected to add 255 million to its urban population between 2018 and 2050, according to a report by the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).
And by 2050, 68 per cent of the world population will live in urban areas, increasing from 55 per cent now. Urbanization will lead to a decline in Russia's rural population from 36.8 million to 22.1 million. These three countries will account for 35 percent of the projected growth of the world's urban population between the time span. Currently, the world is home to 31 megacities - the largest of which is Tokyo with an agglomeration of 37 million inhabitants - but the report estimates that by 2030, the world could have 43, the majority of which will be in developing countries.
"The increasing concentration of people in cities provides a way of more economically providing services", he said.
Among other findings, the report said in 1990 there were just ten megacities with populations of 10 million or more.
Megacities are those with more than 10 million inhabitants and the reports says majority would be in developing countries. Asia, despite its relatively lower level of urbanization, is home to 54% of the world's urban population, followed by Europe and Africa with 13% each.
However, a few cities in Japan and South Korea - for example, Nagasaki and Busan - have experienced population decline since 2000.
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The report also projected that the world's population itself will peak in a few years and decline by 2050. Also, urbanisation will play a huge role as there will be a gradual shift in the residence of the human population from rural to urban areas in Asia and Africa.
The UN study, carried out by the world body's Population Division, predicts that Tokyo's population will start to decline in the coming two years and that it will be surpassed as the world's largest city by New Delhi towards 2028. DESA stresses that sustainable urbanisation is essential to successful development.
"However, the challenge is that in many countries it's taking place so rapidly. and large slum areas have developed that are not maybe achieving the goals of sustainable development the way that we would like".
Around 2028, India's population will be greater than China's.
To ensure that the benefits of urbanization are fully shared and inclusive, policies to manage urban growth need to ensure access to infrastructure and social services for all, focusing on the needs of the urban poor and other vulnerable groups for housing, education, health care, decent work and a safe environment.
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