Top 10 populated cities in the World

Top 10 populated cities in the World

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The world’s population reached eight billion in November last year. Here, we take a look at the cities which are home to the largest populations on the planet.


The world’s growing population has severe impacts on the planet as well as on the survival of humans and all other species.

Growing populations fuel an ever-increasing need for resources, which the planet is struggling to provide.

A number of predictions have been made about when the number of people on Earth will peak. According to Science Focus, some studies suggest that the world’s population will peak at 8.8 billion people by the middle of this century.

1. Tokyo, Japan

With 37.4 million people, Tokyo is the city that is home to the largest number of people in the world. Tokyo covers just 13,452km2. Consequently, there are approximately 2 642 people per square kilometre in the Greater Tokyo Area.

High-density living presents problems for its residents in terms of living space and travel. Housing shortages are common. Because of this, tiny apartments (of up to only 9m2 ) are popular amongst younger residents, who seek to reside near the centre of the city for work purposes.

Getting around the city is also challenging. The roads are often jammed in and around the city. Public transport is also often overcrowded and expensive, although it is highly efficient.

2. Delhi, India

With 29.3 million people, Delhi is the city with the world’s second-largest population. Delhi has been in existence for over 2 000 years.

The city’s age is a cause for problems. Much of its infrastructure is outdated, although road-building projects have helped to ease the traffic problems.

Pollution from roads and industry is also a big problem in Delhi, as is the standard of housing. It is estimated that 50 percent of the population lives in sub-standard accommodation.

3. Shanghai, China

Shanghai has a population of 26.3 million people. Years ago, Shanghai was a small fishing village.

Due to its location near the estuary of the Yangtze River, Shanghai has grown remarkably. It is the biggest city in China now, as well as one of the largest in the world.

It is home to the Nanjing Road shopping district – a mix of malls and traditional Chinese stores and food outlets. Its long streets with bustling commercial areas easily compare with London’s Oxford Street or Paris’ Champs-Élysées.

4. São Paulo, Brazil

Brazil’s second city, after the famous Rio de Janeiro is home to 21.8 million people. São Paulo is a place where extreme poverty exists alongside great wealth.

Tall skyscrapers in the city’s financial district tower over the city’s slums, known as the favelas. Town planning is not a strong point here. The city’s haphazard layout is challenging for the provision of services.

Water supply is a problem in São Paulo. There are few natural sources of drinking water in the city. The city is known for high crime levels, which have reportedly been declining.

Air quality has also been steadily improving in recent years, making it a better place to live.

Sao Paulo has one of the world’s largest populations. Image: Pexels.

5. Mexico City, Mexico

The largest city in Mexico is home to 21.6 million people. Mexico City is located 2 240m above sea level. It is the oldest capital city in the Americas.

The population of this city has grown exponentially since 1900 when its population stood at half a million people.

Urbanisation led to an influx of large numbers of people to the city. Mexico City is now a commercial centre and is also a popular tourist destination with museums and attractions.

6. Cairo, Egypt

Cairo with 20.4 million people, is home to Africa’s largest population. While Cairo is best known for its ancient wonders: the Pyramids of Giza complex, it is also home to 11 percent of the people of Egypt.

The city has severe traffic problems but there are plans to build monorail systems to ease the congestion. Cairo is often subjected to dust storms. The desert climate might be difficult for some but this doesn’t stop people from wanting to visit the city.

7. Dhaka, Bangladesh

With 20.2 million people, Dhaka is the world’s seventh most populated city. Bangladesh’s capital city is growing rapidly. This has led to vast high-rise apartments and offices popping up all over this city.

Dhaka is home to the government of Bangladesh, as well as several historic buildings. The city is also the centre of Bengali culture, hosting numerous art festivals and religious events.

Owing to its location on the River Ganges Delta, Dhaka is sometimes subject to flooding during the monsoon and cyclone seasons.

8. Mumbai, India

Mumbai is home to 20.1 million people. The city is the commercial and financial capital of India. Most of the largest companies in the country are based in Mumbai, which led to an influx of people from other areas.

This has created problems including poor sanitation and low-quality housing. Mumbai also has some of the world’s busiest roads, mainly due to poor infrastructure and a public transport system that is unable to cope with high demand.

Mumbai is a historic city, full of culture and art. It is also home to Bollywood, India’s film industry, known around the world for vibrant movies.

9. Beijing, China

Home to 19.4 million people, is China’s capital city of Beijing. Beijing is one of the oldest cities in the world and is also home to most of China’s largest companies.

This has fuelled population growth and increased the wealth of many of its residents. Beijing is now one of the cities with the world’s wealthiest people.

With a high population density of 4,600 people per km, the residents of Beijing do not enjoy personal space. Air pollution, frequent sandstorms, and car emissions mean that residents in Beijing cannot enjoy a high standard of living.

10. Osaka, Japan

Another Japanese city, Osaka, is home to a whopping 19.2 million people. Osaka is an important centre of commerce and industry.

The city is also a financial hub which is home to many Japanese companies. The city’s public transport system carries more than 900 million people a year.

Osaka is known for its food culture and modern architecture. The city also has huge traffic issues and a short housing supply, which is very costly.

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