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Top 5 Countries with the Biggest Rise in Urban Population

June 21st, 2017

In the period through to 2030, the top five countries with the biggest urban population expansion, in absolute numbers, are expected to be China, India, Nigeria, Indonesia and Pakistan. Rapid urbanisation boosts economic development and consumer spending growth, as urban consumers enjoy greater purchasing power and are easier to reach than their rural counterparts. Urbanisation is often accompanied by the transition to smaller households and new consumption habits, which in turn can generate new business opportunities. However, the challenges that urbanisation brings can be significant and include infrastructure deficit, rising pollution and worsening inequalities, all of which can impact the consumer market and business environment in urban agglomerations.

Source: Euromonitor International from national statistics/UN

Note: Data are forecast

Did you know?

  • China’s rapid urban growth has resulted not only in a rising number of large cities, but also megacities with populations above 10 million. Of the 31 megacities worldwide, six were in China as of 2016.
  • Although India will record the second biggest absolute increase in urban population globally in the 2017-2030 period, India will remain a predominantly rural nation, with only 41.8% of the population living in cities in 2030.
  • The urban population in Nigeria is set to expand by 61.6% (an extra 58.4 million) during 2017-2030. In percentage growth, this will be by far the fastest rate of all the top five countries, although in absolute terms the expansion will be far smaller than that of populous China and India. Such a rapid rate of expansion makes urbanisation undeniably one of the most important trends impacting consumer-focused industries in Nigeria.
  • Indonesia’s capital city and the world’s second largest metropolitan area – Jakarta – stands out as the country’s largest consumer market with a population of 31.1 million (or 11.9% of the national total). Jakarta accounted for an even larger share of the national consumer expenditure, at 17.4% in 2016.
  • Although Pakistan is often overshadowed by China and India, consumer goods companies need to start paying more attention to the country, because it is home to a burgeoning urban middle class that is starting to earn more and spend more, particularly on fast-moving consumer goods. In 2030, the number of households with an annual disposable income of US$15,000-US$45,000 in Karachi will be 755,000, a significant rise from 224,000 in 2016.
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An Hodgson

An Hodgson joined Euromonitor International in 2006. She manages research into income and expenditure as well as industry, infrastructure and environment. Her strategic analysis helps businesses gain important insight into global, regional and key emerging market trends and thereby allowing them to make more informed commercial decisions.

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