World’s Largest Megacities

There are 47 megacities in the world, typically with population over 10 million people. The largest of these are the metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Shanghai, and Jakarta, each having a population of over 30 million inhabitants.

China alone has 15 megacities. India has 5 megacities, Japan has 3, and the United States, Pakistan, and Brazil each has two megacities.

Read: Largest Ancient Cities (from 10,000 BC to the 1900s)

Related: Largest US Cities

Related: World’s Largest Cities

World’s Largest Megacities

Below is the list of world’s largest cities, often called as a ‘Megacity’ due to their enormous metro-area and population size.

1. Tokyo, Japan
2. Shanghai, China
3. Jakarta, Indonesia
4. Delhi, India
5. Seoul, South Korea
6. Guangzhou, China
7. Beijing, China
8. Manila, Philippines
9. New York City, United States
10. Mumbai, India
11. Shenzhen, China
12. São Paulo, Brazil
13. Mexico City, Mexico
14. Lagos, Nigeria
15. Keihanshin (Kyoto-Osaka), Japan
16. Cairo, Egypt
17. Wuhan, China
18. Los Angeles, United States
19. Dhaka, Bangladesh
20. Chengdu, China
21. Moscow, Russia
22. Chongqing, China
23. Karachi, Pakistan
24. Bangkok, Thailand
25. Tianjin, China
26. Istanbul, Turkey
27. Kolkata, India
28. London, United Kingdom
29. Buenos Aires, Argentina
30. Tehran, Iran
31. Hangzhou, China
32. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
33. Hyderabad, India
34. Xi’an, China
35. Paris, France
36. Changzhou, China
37. Bangalore, India
38. Lahore, Pakistan
39. Shantou, China
40. Kinshasa, DRC Congo
41. Nanjing, China
42. Jinan, China
43. Harbin, China
44. Chennai, India
45. Bogota, Colombia
46. Lima, Peru
47. Nagoya, Japan

Related: The Ultimate Travel Bucket List

History of Megacities

In 1800, only 3% of the world’s population lived in cities, a figure that rose to 47% by the end of the 20th century. In 1950, there were 83 cities with populations exceeding one million; by 2018, this number had risen to over 500.

The UN forecasts that today’s urban population of 3.2 billion will rise to nearly 5 plus billion by 2030, when 3 out of every 5 people will live in cities. This increase will be mostly seen in Asia and Africa.

Unfortunately, this trend also projects that by 2030, over 2 billion people in the world will be living in slums or slum-like conditions. Over 90% of the urban population of Ethiopia, Malawi, and Uganda (world’s most rural countries) already live in slums.

Future of Megacities

By 2025-2030, Asia alone will have at least 30 megacities. In Africa, Lagos, Nigeria has grown from 300,000 in 1950 to an estimated 21 million as of 2018.

Safety in Megacity

As with any large concentration of people, there is usually crime. High population densities, placing lots of people together, invariably result in higher crime rates, as visibly seen in growing megacities such as Rio de Janeiro, Karachi, Mumbai, Cairo, and Lagos.

In many poor countries overpopulated slums exhibit high rates of disease due to unsanitary conditions, malnutrition, and lack of basic health care.


So, how many of these megacities have you visited or lived in? What cultural differences (if any) have you noticed between these ginormous cities or between a country and its megacity? Please chime in in the comments below.