World population concentrating in 'mega-cities': Millions more will flock to Third World urban slums

HALF the world's population - more than 3,000 million people - will live in 'mega- cities' by the end of the decade, the British charity Population Concern says in a report published today.

Between 20 million and 30 million people are moving each year to towns and cities in search of a better life. Most, however, will end up in slums and squatter camps, the hallmarks of the mega-city.

By 2000, only three of the largest cities - Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles - will be in the industrialised world, and the global population will have risen from 5.2 billion in 1990 to about 6.2 billion.

Current estimates suggest that an even higher projection of 6.4 billion is more likely, Diana Brown, chairman of Population Concern, said. 'Unfortunately, in recent years, we have been closer to following previous high projections rather than medium ones.'

The charity says that world population is increasing each year by well over 90 million people - equivalent to the combined population of the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Benelux countries, and Denmark. It estimates that by 2050, it could have risen to between 7.8 and 12.5 billion.

Ms Brown said: 'For the future of our planet and its inhabitants, we must hope that we do not follow the high projection.'

Although there have been encouraging signs that contraception and family planning is begining to have an effect on the rate at which some countries are growing, the number of children in the world today ensures the overall growth in population.

Ms Brown said that a third of the world's population will become old enough to have children during the Nineties.

'The only thing that rises faster than population is unemployment,' she said. 'There will be a dramatic rise in population, but how dramatic depends on what we do now.'

The growth of the mega-cities was inevitable, she said. 'People go to towns for the hope that the opportunities will present. But the real misery is the lack of infrastructure prepared for them.'

In many of Asia's largest cities, between a quarter and three-quarters of people live in slums or squatter settlements. By the end of the decade it is estimated that 60 per cent of the urban population of Asia will be living like this, according to Population Concern.

In Africa, which is experiencing the fastest population growth rate in the world, many cities will double in size within 12 years because of the high birth-rate and mass emigration from impoverished rural areas.

Ms Brown said there is now clear evidence that women in even the poorest countries want to limit the size of their families, and it is only lack of access to effective contraception and education that prevents them.

Many fertility surveys over the past few years show that women want fewer children than they have, she said. 'Apart from access to family planning services, it is the status of women in society that is important. When women have control over their own lives, they have fewer children.'

Population Concern is calling on the governments of the industrialised world to increase the amount of development aid dedicated to family planning services.

At a meeting of the United Nations Population Fund in 1989, the participating countries agreed to contribute an annual sum of dollars 9bn ( pounds 6bn) to family planning in an attempt to restrict population growth to the medium projection, Ms Brown said. 'Four years later, current spending is estimated to be about half that figure.'

Annual Report 1993, Population Concern, 231 Tottenham Court Road, London.

Leading article, page 13

(Graph omitted)

exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Antoine Griezmann has started two of France’s four games so far
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Business Project Manager

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project Manager job vaca...

Business Analyst (Agile, SDLC, software)

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor