Is a growing urban population a good thing, developmentwise?

report by the U.N. Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs reveals that urban population in Africa will increase to more than 1.2 billion by 2050; in the same year, Asia’s urban population will soar to 3.3 billion.

India, China, Nigeria and Indonesia will account for the largest increases. And the projected increases in India and Nigeria are reportedly higher than in the past four decades.

The U.N. report notes that such growth could open opportunities to improve education and public services, especially in Africa and Asia. But the influx could also further social inequality and environmental pollution. In addition, it can impose problems for children. A UNICEF report in February noted that urban living does not mean healthy living for children.

Urbanization will be a critical issue at the upcoming U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development. Sha Zukang, secretary-general at Rio+20, said the international community will come together to discuss how it can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an “ever more crowded planet.”

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.