Fastest Growing Cities In The World

Cities around the world are growing rapidly. About 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas a number expected to rise to 68% by 2050.

This increase is attributed to several factors. Cities, in general, offer better economic opportunities with larger job markets, better salaries and wages, and higher individual wealth. Education tends to be better in cities, where schools are more likely to have qualified teachers, have more resources, and have higher student-to-teacher ratios. Cities are also typically better equipped with services and resources for their residents.

Cities across Asia and Africa are seeing the fastest growth, as dozens of people per hour are migrating to major urban centers.

The ten fastest-growing cities in the world, by the percentage of growth from 2015 to 2020, are:

  1. Malappuram, India (44%)
  2. Can Tho, Vietnam (37%)
  3. Suqian, China (37%)
  4. Kozhikode, India (35%)
  5. Abuja, Nigeria (34%)
  6. Suzhou, China (33%)
  7. Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (32%)
  8. Putian, China (32%)
  9. Muscat, Oman (31%)
  10. Kollam, India (31%)

The list looks slightly different when ranked by the number of new people per hour from 2015 to 2020. According to the United Nations World Urbanization Prospects, the ten fastest-growing cities based on the number of new people per hour are:

  1. Delhi, India
  2. Shanghai, China
  3. Dhaka, Bangladesh
  4. Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
  5. Chongqing, China
  6. Lahore, Pakistan
  7. Bangalore, India
  8. Lagos, Nigeria
  9. Cairo, Egypt
  10. Beijing, China

According to the United Nations, India, China, and Nigeria will account for 35% of the projected growth of the world’s urban population between 2018 and 2050. Currently, the most urbanized regions of the world as of 2018 are North America, where 82% of people live in urban areas; Latin America and the Caribbean, (81%), Europe (74%), and Oceania (68%). Despite Africa and Asia having the lowest percentage of people living in urban areas, with 43% and 50% respectively, the two continents are expected to see the most rapid growth in the next few decades.

Many cities around the world are growing too fast. The issue with such rapid growth is many cities do not have the infrastructure to support the rapid influx of residents.

For example, in Lagos, Nigeria, the city’s services have been stretched extremely thin to where less than 10% of people are living in homes with sewer connections and less than 20% of people have access to tap water. Many homes are in slums and informal settlements on the outskirts of the city. Despite this, Lagos is still expected to grow exponentially over the next 30 years.

Sustainable urbanization is the key to successful development. Urban growth management is especially key in low- and middle-income countries where the growth is expected to be the greatest. Countries will need to anticipate the increased need for housing, energy system, transportation, and other infrastructure, as well as education and healthcare. Governments will need to consider new policies to ensure access to these needs as urban areas grow.