Global City Trends

April 2021

Cities of the future will be shaped by a number of trends, including increasing urban digitalisation and connectivity, growing sustainability, better urban planning management, increasing consumer purchasing power in developing and emerging cities, and the need for clean and seamless mobility. Between 2020 and 2040, the global urban population will reach 5.8 billion, with 95% of the growth expected in developing and emerging markets. By 2040, 64% of the world’s population will be urban.

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Key Findings

Nearly two thirds of the world’s population to live in cities by 2040

By 2040, 64% of the globe’s population will be living in cities. Sub-Saharan African cities will be the drivers of population growth over the next 20 years. Luanda, Dar es Salaam and Kampala are just some of the few cities in the region that will experience a population boom. This will offer both business opportunities but also social and economic challenges in managing the rise.

42 megacities by 2040

Between 2020 and 2040, eight megacities will be added, putting the total at 42. The new megacities will mostly emerge in developing and emerging market economies, representing the concentration of urban population growth, especially in Asia and Africa. India will join China as having the largest number of megacities with six.

The internet to become almost ubiquitous by 2040

Cities are digitalising and becoming more hyperconnected. This is being driven by increasing consumer access to the internet. By 2040, most cities will have internet access with growth largely arising from developing and emerging cities. This is going to open new opportunities in e-commerce, e-banking and other internet based services.

Cities are becoming more sustainability focused

Cities account for 70% of global carbon emissions. This is pushing ahead a need for urban areas to become more progressive in their stance on tackling climate change. This includes developing cleaner mobility options, increasing access to green open spaces and driving up the use of renewable energy.

Developing cities to continue seeing a surge in middle class development

Developing cities will continue being the frontiers for economic growth. Disposable incomes are surging and this is creating a new urban middle class. It will bring more opportunities for domestic and international businesses to exploit.


Key findings
Global cities snapshot
Five key city trends
Areas of opportunity

Cities Today

World’s cities in 2020 : summary
Jakarta adds over five million motorcycles and mopeds
Lima, Bangalore and Bogota achieve megacity status in the review period
Jakarta and Kyiv double average wages over the review period
Developing cities record growth in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic
Chinese cities maintain the lead with economic growth

Global Outlook

Nearly two thirds of the world’s population to live in cities by 2040
Internet access to become almost ubiquitous in 2040 across all cities
Jakarta to overtake Tokyo to become the world’s largest city in 2031
Asian cities to age the fastest to 2040
Seven cities to join trillion dollar GDP club by 2040
Eight new megacities to by 2040
Sub-Saharan African cities to dominate population rise through to 2040
More developing city populations to enter the middle class segment

Top Five Cities’ Trends

Cities: five key long-term themes shaping our cities
Digital and connected cities: internet adoption underpins digital drive
Sustainable cities: cities can contribute to climate change goals
Smart urban planning: adopting the 15-minute city concept
Emerging cities: economic growth drives new middle class
Clean and seamless mobility: utilising sustainable transport fleets
Cities: five key long-term themes shaping our cities
Five key c ity trends

Rankings of Key Indicators

Population growth
Consumer expenditure growth
Consumer expenditure
Consumer expenditure structure
GDP growth
Disposable income growth
Disposable income
Household income distribution
Employed and the unemployed population
Labour force participation and the unemployment rate
Vehicles in use by type
Household durable possessions


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