By the year 2050, 68% of the world’s population will live in urban areas, the United Nations said on Wednesday. This boom is expected to be concentrated in India, China and Nigeria, according to a report on the world’s urbanisation prospects released by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs,

“Projections show that urbanization – the gradual shift in residence of the human population from rural to urban areas – combined with the overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050, with close to 90% of this increase taking place in Asia and Africa,” the United Nations said in a release.

India, China and Nigeria are expected to account for 35% of this projected growth in urban population from 2018 to 2050. “By 2050, it is projected that India will have added 416 million urban dwellers, China 255 million and Nigeria 189 million,” the release said.

As of 2018, there are 4.2 billion people living in urban areas worldwide, an immense increase from the 751 million in 1950. Of the 4.2 billion, Asia accounts for 54% of urban dwellers, followed by Europe and Africa, with 13% each.

New Delhi to overtake Tokyo

New Delhi will become the world’s most populated city around 2028, the report said. Tokyo, with 37 million people, is currently the most populated city, followed by New Delhi with 29 million, Shanghai with 26 million and Mexico City and Sao Paulo, each with around 22 million dwellers. Cairo, Mumbai, Beijing and Dhaka all have close to 20 million inhabitants.

“By 2020, Tokyo’s population is projected to begin to decline, while Delhi is projected to continue growing and to become the most populous city in the world around 2028,” it said. Around the same time, India is expected to slip past China to become the most populous country.

Decline by 2050

The report also projected that the world’s population itself will peak in a few years and decline by 2050.

Some cities in Japan, North Korea, Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation and Ukraine have already lost population since 2000, it said, citing reasons such as poor economy, natural disasters, low fertility and emigration.

Rural population

“The global rural population is now close to 3.4 billion and is expected to rise slightly and then decline to 3.1 billion by 2050,” the report said.

About 90% of the world’s rural population live in Africa and Asia. Of this, India has the largest, at 893 million people, followed by China’s 578 million.