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Cities on the frontlines

We live on an (increasingly) urban planet. Today, for the first time in human history, more than half of the world's population (55 percent) lives in cities. By 2050, that figure will rise to more than two-thirds, with close to 7 billion people living in urban areas. Cities have always been centers of opportunity, innovation, and human progress. But they are also often on the front lines of the major political and social challenges of the day. Here are three areas in which that's true right now.

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The Graphic Truth: Urbanization around the world

Over the past seven decades, dozens of countries have experienced rapid urbanization as people flock from rural areas to cities in search of more diverse economic opportunities. During that time, the global urban population has increased six-fold. Here is a look at how that trend has played out in major regions of the world. While North America and Latin America have been predominantly urban for decades, it is only more recently that East Asia has made this transition, while Sub-Saharan Africa is just on the cusp of being majority urban. Here is a look at how urbanization played out globally since 1950, with forecasts out to 2050.

The Graphic Truth: Where will the next megacities be?

By 2030, ten urban areas are projected to attain "megacity" status, a population of more than 10 million people. Six will be in Asia, where more than half of the population will be living in cities at the end of the decade. But the fastest growing megacities will be in Africa — including new megacities in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Luanda (Angola). Can urban planners and governments in Africa keep pace with this rapid urban growth? We look at the world's upcoming megacities, comparing their current and future estimated populations, to get a sense of how crowded each megalopolis will be in 2030.

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