This table sets out the population (in millions of people) for 12 of the largest cities in the developing world from 1950 with a projection to 2000. Most of these cities are located in the tropics. The last column gives the increase (percentage) in the population size relative to 1950. An annual growth rate can be calculated by dividing by 50.
The growth rates for most of these cities are catastrophic; they cannot
be sustained. Mexico City and Sao Paulo are growing at a rate of more than
20% per year. The agricultural infrastructure that originally nourished
these cities, the life support systems cannot support this ever expanding
burden; especially when the landcover that provided the food is being converted
irreversibly to urban use. Even the most favourably sited and highly productive
cities, such as Bangkok and Manila, are being strangled by an ever-increasing
ring of squatter shanties.
Population for 12 of the World's largest cities
|Rio de Janeiro||2.9||4.4||7.1||10.6||19||655|
|Mean increase over 50 years||734|