China is expected to add 255 million to its urban population between 2018 and 2050, according to the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). The number of people who live in cities in China currently exceeds 775 million, representing 56% of the total population.
In a report, released last week and entitled "The 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects", DESA notes that future increases in the size of the world's urban population are expected to be highly concentrated in just a few countries. Together, China, India (416 million more) and Nigeria (189 million more) will account for 35% of the projected growth of the world's urban population between 2018 and 2050. It is projected that 68% of the world's population will live in urban environments by 2050, compared to 55% in 2018.
Projections show that urbanisation, 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 urban population of the world has grown rapidly from 751 million in 1950 to 4.2 billion in 2018. Asia, despite its relatively lower level of urbanisation, is home to 54% of the world’s urban population, followed by Europe and Africa with 13% each.
Sustainable development, or the successful management of urban growth, is crucial for countries that may face challenges associated with rapid urbanisation, the report suggests. This is especially true when it comes to low-income and lower-middle-income countries.