We now have seven and a half billion people on Earth and rising! A little over half of those folks live in urban areas where it does not get bigger than being in a mega city! As the number of people grows across the globe, so will the number of mega cities on Earth. Let’s explore this topic by asking today’s big question: How many mega cities are on Earth now? Listen to this Question Your World radio report produced by the Science Museum of Virginia to learn more.
First of all what is a mega city? Simply put, over ten million people living together in an area is considered a mega city. Some are straight up cities and others are conglomerations of a few close regions that come together to form a population of over 10 million people.
As of 2010 there were 30 mega cities on Earth, but in 2017 that number has gown to 47. That’s a lot of people. In a time span of nearly seven years the dense urban population in these areas grew by over 17 million people total, thus bringing us 17 new mega cities to add to our growing list.
Tokyo, Japan, the original and still reigning champion, is the largest mega city with 37.9 million residents. There were some newcomers on the list last year as well like India’s 4th mega city, Chennai. India’s already home to New Delhi, Mumbai, and Kalkota. Adding up India’s now four mega city populations gives us a staggering 71 million people in those four cities combined. Pretty big when you compare it to the state of Virginia’s 8 million residents. Also new to the list is Lima, Peru’s first mega city. Lima’s current booming population stands at around 7,000 people per square mile. That’s some tight and dense city living!
It’s predicted that the global population will hit 9.7 billion by 2050 and bring with more mega cities. So the question now is how do we efficiently feed, transport, educate, protect, and provide power for this growing number of people without further harming our surroundings?
There are hopeful signs in how some of these growing regions are adapting eco friendly practices in order to grow while minimizing the negative environmental impacts. These advances are in the hands of scientists, urban planners, technologists, and researchers that help us better understand how our growth impacts the surroundings, the climate, and even our own health.
That’s the hope at least, right? Providing safe and enriching environments for a growing population. In the words of American poet Steven Wonder that’s “just enough for the city.”