THE LARGEST, RICHEST, FASTEST CITIES IN THE WORLD
You knew Tokyo was big but did you know it is country-size big? Whole state of California kind of big? These are the kind of stats we love here at Enlightly so we thought we would put some of these numbers into perspective to help you better navigate this brave new world of trillion-dollar cities:
1. RICHEST CITIES ON EARTH
While wealth may not be the most important thing on the planet, it certainly gives an indication of how dynamic some places can be. We have often heard that if the state of California was a country it would be by itself the 7th largest economy on earth (end 2015). But even more mesmerisingly, Tokyo, a single city, boasts the 12th largest economy in the planet, putting it ahead of Australia and Mexico in terms of nominal size.
Tokyo’s economy finds its core basis in finance (investment banking and insurance), transportation, publishing and electronics.
New York City’s economy is the equivalent to an economy the size of South Korea. New York City relies on finance, health care, real estate, mass media, publishing, creative industries and manufacturing (still a major factor in NYC, despite recent decline).
Los Angeles vies for the third place with other metropolises such as Paris, London or Seoul. The city relies on logistics and trade, health care and the creative industries to sustain its economy.
2. FASTEST GROWING LARGE CITIES IN THE WORLD
We have picked the 3 fastest growing cities in the world with a current population of more than 5 million (the general list contains lesser known names otherwise) according to the consultants at Demographia.
Suzhou, China. Current population: 5,25m.
To put this 5.57% growth into perspective, London -with its much vaunted population growth issues-, is only growing at 1.16% per year on average since 2008. Should London grow at Suzhou’s rate, it would be adding 500,000 people to its population every year (instead of the current 100,000).
Guangzhou, China. Current population: 20.6m.
One million. One million souls. That is how much Guangzhou adds to its population with every passing year. That is like adding one Dallas, or one Birmingham (UK), or one Marseille, or one Munich. Every year. Think about it.
Surat, India. Current population: 5.44m.
Relatively unknown despite being larger than Berlin and its surroundings put together, Surat is the capital of the Indian state of Gujarat. An IT hub, it is being constituted as the first smart IT city in India by the Microsoft CityNext initiative. It also houses Tata Consultancy services, Wipro and IBM.
3. CITIES THAT CONCENTRATE THE LARGEST PERCENTAGE OF THE NATIONAL POPULATION
While some national entities concentrate an astounding percentage of its citizens in their largest city (for example, Djibouti, Puerto Rico or Kuwait all have around three quarters of their population living in the capital city), these 3 city-states are so large and dense that they concentrate an astounding 100% of their own population, being national entities in their own right!
Not to belittle the Vatican, 100% of the 690 people that inhabit it also live within its only “city”!
4. AND FINALLY, THE LARGEST CITIES ON EARTH
Measurements of what constitutes a city differ widely, but for this post we have opted for the definition of metropolitan area provided by the folks at Demographia: “urban areas that are socio-economically tied to the urban core, typically measured by commuting patterns”.
Tokyo, a single city, has a population larger than Canada and only 1 million shy of Poland. Another way to put it is that Tokyo’s population is larger than Australia, plus New Zealand, plus Scotland, plus Ireland… combined!
Seoul concentrates half of South Korea’s 50 million people. For another country of 50 million people, like Spain, it is as if Madrid were 5 times its current size.
By contrast, Shanghai constitutes only 2% of China’s population… despite being the same size as Seoul. Gives you some reference as to just how enormous China is at 1.3 billion people!