Almost 200 million people moved to urban areas in East Asia over ten years, a number which would be the world’s sixth largest population for any single country, according to data released today by the World Bank.
About two-thirds of the total urban land in Asia is in China. The second-highest increase in urban land is in Indonesia.
Of the top 25 cities with growing urban land, China has 19 of them. Vietnam’s two large urban areas, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, have also expanded rapidly.
Population growth rates among large urban areas are also highest in China, with Hefei and Changshu doubling over ten years.
“Rapid urbanisation is a significant challenge for East Asia, but we cannot manage what we cannot measure,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, the World Bank East Asia and Pacific Regional Vice President.
“We’re releasing this data so urban leaders can get a better picture and take action to ensure that urban growth benefits the increasing number of people moving to cities, especially the poor.”
Overall, urban areas in East Asia expanded at an average of 2.4% per year from 2000 to 2010, with urban land reaching 134,800 square kilometres in 2010.
The shift from rural to urban societies is having a massive impact on the economic, social, political, and environmental landscape of countries across the globe.
Urbanisation that took place over a period of several decades in Europe and North America is happening in just a few years in East Asia, as shown by the emergence of megacities and hundreds of small and medium urban settlements.
The region will continue to urbanize rapidly as economies shift from agriculture to manufacturing and services, with several hundred million people migrating to cities over the next two decades.
There are 50 urban areas with growth rates which would see them double in population between 2000 and 2020.
If considered a single urban area, the Pearl River Delta in China is the largest in the world as measured by both area and population.
Tokyo has long been the largest metropolitan area but this study finds that it has been surpassed by the Pearl River Delta urban area, which includes Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and covers about 7,000 square kilometres.
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