Africa, Asia see rapid population growth to 2050
The population growth will open up opportunities in education, but will pose challenges in housing, employment, energy and environment.
Thu, Apr 05, 2012 at 01:20 PM
EVEN MORE CROWDED: Commuters pile onto a train from a busy platform during the rush hour in a Beijing underground station in 2011. (Photo: AFP)
UNITED NATIONS — Africa and Asia are the continents that will see the fastest urban population growth in the next 40 years, a UN report said on April 5, noting that India and China are leading the surge.
The population of African cities will almost treble from 414 million now to more than 1.2 billion by 2050, while Asia will grow from 1.9 billion to 3.3 billion in that period, said the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
When combined, Africa and Asia will represent 86 percent of the growth in the world's urban population in the next 40 years, the "World Urbanization Prospects" report said.
The report's authors said such rapid population growth should open up new opportunities in education for Africans and Asians but it will also pose challenges in housing, employment, energy and the environment.
The biggest rise in an urban population is expected to occur in India, which is forecast to jump 497 million, followed by China (up 341 million), while Nigeria will see its numbers in cities rise around 200 million.
India's population, the world's second biggest at 1.2 billion, is set to surpass China's by 2025, according to separate data.
The United States will likely see an urban population increase of 103 million by 2050, while the emerging Asian nation Indonesia will grow by around 92 million people, the UN report said on April 5.
The authors also warned of dangers posed to such large population centers, noting that of 450 areas containing more than one million people (totaling 1.4 billion residents in 2011), 60 percent are situated in regions exposed to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and floods.
Asia is the most exposed region for such climactic events, whereas Africa and Europe are least at risk, the report said.
Copyright 2012 AFP Asian Edition