The economic outlook update released by the Asian Development Bank last week highlighted that, according to World Urbanization Prospects data, “the number of urban inhabitants in developing Asia has increased almost five-fold since 1970”.
“Developing Asia” refers to a group of 45 countries that are members of the ADB. As such, between 1970 to 2017, the urban population in this group of countries grew from 375 million to 1.84 billion. The region led the global increase in urban population in this period and accounted for 53% of it.
Two-thirds of the nearly 1.5.billion additional city dwellers in Developing Asia belong to China and India. Developing Asia urbanised faster than the rest of the world not only in terms of absolute growth, but also in terms of growth rate. The urban population in this region increased at an average 3.4% per annum from 1970 to 2017. This was much faster than the 2.6% in the rest of the developing world — mainly Africa and Latin America — and 1.0% in the developed world.
Within the Developing Asia region, East Asia, at 3.7%, had the highest annual growth rate. It was followed by Southeast Asia at 3.6%, and South Asia at 3.3%. The Pacific saw an annual growth rate of 2.9% in the urban population, and Central Asia witnessed a 1.6% annual growth.