karachi traffic

As of July this year, with an official population of 16.126 million, Pakistan’s Karachi city is the world’s 12th largest megacity.

Japan’s capital Tokyo is world’s most-populated city, with 32.53 million population.

By 2030, with an official population of 24.838 million, Karachi is estimated to become the world’s 7th largest megacity. In 1990, with an official population of 7.147 million, it was world’s 22nd largest city.

These figures are given in a United Nations report released today. Called World Urbanization Prospects, The 2014 Revision, the report highlights the populations trends from 1990 to 2030.

It gives a list of 71 megacities with population of over 5 million. Some of the highlights are given below:

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World Urbanization Trends 2014: Key Facts
  • Globally, more people live in urban areas than in rural areas, with 54 per cent of the world’s population residing in urban areas in 2014. In 1950, 30 per cent of the world’s population was urban, and by 2050, 66 per cent of the world’s population is projected to be urban.
  • Today, the most urbanized regions include Northern America (82 per cent living in urban areas in 2014), Latin America and the Caribbean (80 per cent), and Europe (73 per cent). In contrast, Africa and Asia remain mostly rural, with 40 and 48 per cent of their respective populations living in urban areas. All regions are expected to urbanize further over the coming decades. Africa and Asia are urbanizing faster than the other regions and are projected to become 56 and 64 per cent urban, respectively, by 2050.
  • The rural population of the world has grown slowly since 1950 and is expected to reach its peak in a few years. The global rural population is now close to 3.4 billion and is expected to decline to 3.2 billion by 2050. Africa and Asia are home to nearly 90 per cent of the world’s rural population. India has the largest rural population (857 million), followed by China (635 million).
  • The urban population of the world has grown rapidly since 1950, from 746 million to 3.9 billion in 2014. Asia, despite its lower level of urbanization, is home to 53 per cent of the world’s urban population, followed by Europe (14 per cent) and Latin America and the Caribbean (13 per cent).
  • Continuing population growth and urbanization are projected to add 2.5 billion people to the world’s urban population by 2050, with nearly 90 per cent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa.
  • Just three countries — India, China and Nigeria — together are expected to account for 37 per cent of the projected growth of the world’s urban population between 2014 and 2050. India is projected to add 404 million urban dwellers, China 292 million and Nigeria 212 million.

large cities

  • Close to half of the world’s urban dwellers reside in relatively small settlements of less than 500,000 inhabitants, while only around one in eight live in the 28 megacities with more than 10 million inhabitants.
  • Tokyo is the world’s largest city with an agglomeration of 38 million inhabitants, followed by Delhi with 25 million, Shanghai with 23 million, and Mexico City, Mumbai and São Paulo, each with around 21 million inhabitants.
  • By 2030, the world is projected to have 41 megacities with more than 10 million inhabitants. Tokyo is projected to remain the world’s largest city in 2030 with 37 million inhabitants, followed closely by Delhi where the population is projected to rise swiftly to 36 million.
  • Several decades ago most of the world’s largest urban agglomerations were found in the more developed regions, but today’s large cities are concentrated in the global South. The fastest-growing urban agglomerations are medium-sized cities and cities with less than 1 million inhabitants located in Asia and Africa.
  • Some cities have experienced population decline in recent years. Most of these are located in the low-fertility countries of Asia and Europe where the overall population is stagnant or declining. Economic contraction and natural disasters have contributed to population losses in some cities as well.
  • As the world continues to urbanize, sustainable development challenges will be increasingly concentrated in cities, particularly in the lower-middle-income countries where the pace of urbanization is fastest. Integrated policies to improve the lives of both urban and rural dwellers are needed.

Download the World Urbanization Prospects, The 2014 Revision.

Karachi to be 7th largest megacity by 2030


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  • Nasir Zuberi

    In order to cope up with level of complexity we are going to face with the rank of #7 largest city, we will have to add & delete many habits which have penetrated in the personalities of Karachites:

    From my view point, following is the priority list:
    1- develop traffic sense (all stake holders;driver, passengers & pedestrians)
    2- love for respecting & following the law
    3- care for others
    4- taking responsibility of mistakes
    5- patience and so on……

    The last can be as long as grocery shopping list with education on the top.

    My recent first hand experience in observing the above 5 items is gained in Dubai as I attended driving classes as per the local laws besides having 25+ years old driving licence (I am given 50% waiver too).

    I am not surprised why & how a non-educated Pakistani, Indian or Bangladeshi national stays on track here…. It’s Training, Training & Training followed by rest of the items. And I am not ashamed in accepting that the way we drive vehicles in our home countries is more or less 50% WRONG.

    In order to manage the mega-population, we need to bring every one on the same page & re-organize ourselves, except this, there is no shortcut to achieving the true title of #7 largest city.