These Are Forecast to Be the World's Biggest Cities in 2100: New York Doesn't Crack the Top 20

The list includes many cities that westerners won't have even heard of, let alone be able to place on a map.
These Are Forecast to Be the World’s Biggest Cities in 2100: New York Doesn’t Crack the Top 20 Newsweek

When movies imagine the cities of the future, they invariably look like New York or Tokyo. Fritz Lang's Metropolis was an elegant but industrial pile of Art Deco towers inspired by the Manhattan of the 1920s. Blade Runner 's neon-lit city is basically a souped-up Tokyo.

But it seems Birnin Zana, the capital of Wakanda in Black Panther, may be a more accurate vision for the cities of the future. That's because while the cities of the past sprouted up in Europe, then America and Asia, the megacities of the future look likely to be in Africa.

Africa's population is growing at a much faster rate than the rest of the world. While roughly one in seven people in the world today are from Africa, the UN predicts that will rise to almost one in two by 2100.

In contrast, Europe's population is projected to fall steadily over the same period, from 742 million to 653 million. After a period of growth, Asia is also expected to shrink, ending up with a population more or less the same as today.

Overall, the global population will likely grow to 11 billion over the next 82 years, and cities will get bigger too—especially in Africa.

High birth rates in the continent ensure that even if there is a decrease in fertility in the coming years, the huge number of young people already living means a huge population boom is now inevitable.

The Global Cities Institute has made projections about the biggest megacities of the future, by using data relating to each country's urban-rural ratio and urbanization rate, as well as birth rate and mortality rate. Conakry, Pune, Ibadan, Kano, N'djamena; the list includes many cities that westerners won't have even heard of, let alone be able to place on a map.

But not every city will experience a boom. Tokyo, the template for science fiction's city of the future, currently has the largest population in the world at 36 million. But by 2100, it's projected to have shrunk by 29 percent, making it only the 28th largest city in the world. This population dive is fueled by Japan's low birth rate and anti-immigration policies.

European cities face a similar fate. By 2100, no European cities will be among the 60 largest. Paris is predicted to be the 67th biggest city in the world, with London the only other European city in the top 100, at 86th.

Cities in the U.S. will be largely overtaken too. New York City, currently the sixth largest in the world, is predicted to grow 55 percent. But even so, it will still drop down the list of biggest cities, coming in at number 22.

Los Angeles just about scrapes into the top 40. The only other American cities on the list of the 100 biggest urban centers are Chicago (57), Miami (89), Philadelphia (91) and Dallas (100).

Click through this slideshow to find out which cities are forecast to be the world's biggest by the year 2100.

90. Nagpur, Maharashtra State, India: 9,131,000. (2011 estimate: 2,491,870. Projected growth: 266%.) Reuters