Future Earth: 20 Most Populous Cities in the World by 2100 (GIF Map)

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

Look at a modern map of the world’s most populous cities today and you will notice that they are quite evenly distributed around the globe. Metropolitan areas like Moscow, New York, Tokyo, Cairo, and Rio de Janeiro are spread apart with very different geographic and cultural settings, and 5 of the world's 7 continents today can claim at least one of the world’s 20 most populous cities.

In the future, things will be very different, according to projections from the Global Cities Institute (domain: globalcitiesinstitute.org). In fact, over the next 80 years or so, some cities will literally grow 10x or 20x in size – turning into giant megacities that have comparable populations to entire countries like modern-day Germany, France, or the United Kingdom.

The most interesting part? None of these megacities will be in the Americas, Europe, or China.

Top Four Megacities of the Future (based on the Global Cities Institute's projections):
  1. Lagos, Nigeria - population by 2100: 88.3 million people
  2. Kinshasa, Dem. Rep. of the Congo (already the world's largest French-speaking city) - population by 2100: 83.5 million people
  3. Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania - population by 2100: 73.7 million people
  4. Mumbai, India - population by 2100: 67.2 million people
As noted above, eastern Africa will be home to many of the world’s biggest cities in the future, many seemingly popping up out of nowhere--Blantyre City, Lilongwe, and Lusaka, for example--and while most Westerners will not likely have even heard of these places, these centers in Malawi and Zambia will each hold over 35 million people. Perhaps the bulk of humanity is shifting and returning to its common ancestral home--according to many experts, everyone alive today can trace their biological roots to a small group of anatomically modern humans inhabiting the grasslands of eastern Africa some 100,000 years ago. 

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