Speed Reads

that's a lot of people

UN: More than half of the world's population living in cities, and billions more are coming

If you think mega cities like Tokyo, Delhi, and Shanghai are crowded now, just wait until 2045.

More than half of the world's seven billion people live in urban areas, a United Nations report released on Thursday states, and that number is expected to rise to more than six billion by 2045. Why will 2.5 billion people make the move to cities? John Wilmoth, director of the Population Division in the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said it's due to a "preference of people to move from rural to urban areas, and the overall positive growth rate of the world's population, which is projected to continue over the next 35 years."

Much of the growth will take place in developing countries in Asia and Africa, Reuters reports, with India expected to add 404 million more city residents, China 292 million, and Nigeria 212 million, all by 2050. The cities need to be fully prepared for the influx, with adequate education, transportation, and housing, Wilmoth said. "The thing to be afraid of is situations in which governments do not plan for the growth that is going to take place," he added. "Then you can get sprawls, and slums and cities that are not pleasant places to live."