The Morning Economic Report
7:28 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Large Cities and Wealthy Nations - 7/21/14

There was a time when the largest cities of the world were primarily in wealthy nations.  Those cities were associated with plentiful job opportunities, drawing people to them.  In 1950, 20 of the world’s 30 largest cities were in nations deemed to be high income by the World Bank.  Back then, New York represented the largest urban area on the planet with 12.3 million residents.  Tokyo, with 11.3 million people, was second, and New York and Tokyo were the only areas with more than 10 million people. 

Today, there are 28 such areas, many of them in developing nations.  As indicated by writer Floyd Norris, two of them, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, are in nations that the World Bank considers to be low income, meaning that gross national product is less than $1,046 per person. 

Eight more are located in nations with per capita figures below $4,126, making them lower middle income according to the World Bank’s classification system.  Those 8 include 3 from India and one each from Indonesia, Nigeria, Egypt, Pakistan and the Philippines.  There are many implications associated with this trend, including those related to global warming, public health and potential social unrest.