Urbanization update: 52% of the world’s population lives in cities with more than 500,000 people

by Ryan Streeter on February 8, 2015. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Wendell Cox at Demographia does all of us a service each year by tracking the growth of the world’s urban areas. For the first time in world history a few years ago, the world’s population turned majority urban. Its explosive growth each year is amazing.

In his latest report, Cox reports that Tokyo is up to nearly 38 million people. Jakarta is at nearly 31 million, though most population estimates put Jakarta much lower because they exclude Jakarta’s extension into the neighboring regencies. This is what makes Cox’s estimates so valuable: he looks at the actual regional unit and disregards state and other boundaries.

As Cox has pointed out many times, western cities have pretty much fallen behind. Whatever sway they may have because of culture and finance, their numbers pale in comparison to eastern cities. For instance:

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