Last fall, UN-Habitat released its annual State of the World's Cities report. As summarized in The Guardian of Oct. 23, '08, the report highlights two trends in particular: (1) growing economic inequality within cities, in both developing and 'developed' countries; and (2) continuing rapid urbanization (and concomitant deruralization) in the global South.
On the first point, according to The Guardian, the report finds New York "to be the ninth most unequal [city] in the world," while inequality levels in Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., and Miami match those of Nairobi and Abidjan. The most unequal cities are in South Africa, Namibia, and Latin America.
On the second point, the report predicts that 70 percent of the world's population will live in urban areas by 2050, and of that population, well over half will live in Asian cities. Forty-nine new cities have been built in the past 18 years in China alone. "Urban growth rates are highest in the developing world, which absorbs an average [of] 5 million new urban residents a month and is responsible for 95 percent of world urban growth" [my italics]. At the same time, some older cities in the 'developed' world have been losing population as a result of deindustrialization and other factors.
In 2007, the four most populous cities were Tokyo (35.7 million), Mexico City (19 m.), New York-Newark (19 m.), and Sao Paulo (19 m.). In 2025, the report projects that Tokyo will still be number one (with 36.4 million), but numbers 2, 3, and 4 will be two Indian cities -- Mumbai and Delhi -- and Dhaka (capital of Bangladesh), with 26.4, 22.5, and 22 million, respectively. Dhaka, which had 13.5 million in 2007, will nearly double in population by 2025, according to this projection.
[Hat tip: A post of 10/23/08 at Blue Republic of America.]