Urban Transformation

These are the 15 fastest-growing cities in the world

Residents cycle as they participate in a demonstration against the Rwandan government in Burundi's capital Bujumbura cities growth demographics change increase size Africa populations malawi Lilongwe Ouagadougou Burkina Faso Uige Angola Bobo-Dioulasso Burkina Faso Dar es Salaam Tanzania Tete Mozambique Niamey Niger Bunia Congo Gwagwalada Nigeria Mwanza Tanzania Songea Tanzania Kabinda Congo Kampala Uganda Zinder Niger Bujumbura Burundi cities smart urban urbanization development growth growing inclsuive inclusivity poverty tech technology science data electricity electric power fourth industrial revolution 4ir progress advancement power new revolutionary robot robotics ai artificial intelligence machine learning

The population of Bujumbura in Burundi is set to grow by 123% by 2035. Image: REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana

Madison Hoff
Data Editorial Fellow, Business Insider
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SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

  • The world's 15 fastest-growing cities - based on UN population estimates - are all in Africa.
  • Among the fastest-growing cities are three cities located in Tanzania.
  • Bujumbura, Burundi is forecast to grow fastest in the next 15 years.

The world population is expected to grow to 8.6 billion in 2030, and African metro areas are leading this growth.

Have you read?

According to a 2017 UN press release, population growth will mainly occur in nine countries, including five African countries — Tanzania, Congo, Uganda, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. The 15 fastest-growing cities, all located in Africa, are projected to almost double their populations by 2035.

Africa is growing so quickly because of its increasingly large young population, the highest of any continent. Over 75% of its population is younger than 35, according to the United Nations Office on the Special Adviser of Africa.

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs publishes population estimates using data from national censuses and specialized population surveys. We examined the cities that are projected to most rapidly grow in size over the next 15 years among urban areas that had at least 300,000 residents as of 2018 based on the UN's projections of 2020 and 2035 city populations.

Here are the 15 fastest-growing global cities and their expected change in population:

15. Lilongwe, Malawi, has an estimated 2020 population of 1,122,000 and is projected to grow by 97% to 2,210,000 in 2035.

14. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, has an estimated 2020 population of 2,780,000 and is projected to grow by 97% to 5,481,000 in 2035.

cities growth demographics change increase size Africa populations malawi Lilongwe Ouagadougou Burkina Faso Uige Angola Bobo-Dioulasso Burkina Faso Dar es Salaam Tanzania Tete Mozambique Niamey Niger Bunia Congo Gwagwalada Nigeria Mwanza Tanzania Songea Tanzania Kabinda Congo Kampala Uganda Zinder Niger Bujumbura Burundi cities smart urban urbanization development growth growing inclsuive inclusivity poverty tech technology science data electricity electric power fourth industrial revolution 4ir progress advancement power new revolutionary robot robotics ai artificial intelligence machine learning
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Image: Luc Gnago/Reuters

13. Uige, Angola, has an estimated 2020 population of 511,000 and is projected to grow by 98% to 1,013,000 in 2035.

12. Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, has an estimated 2020 population of 972,000 and is projected to grow by 100% to 1,940,000 in 2035.

11. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, has an estimated 2020 population of 6,702,000 and is projected to grow by 100% to 13,383,000 in 2035.

cities growth demographics change increase size Africa populations malawi Lilongwe Ouagadougou Burkina Faso Uige Angola Bobo-Dioulasso Burkina Faso Dar es Salaam Tanzania Tete Mozambique Niamey Niger Bunia Congo Gwagwalada Nigeria Mwanza Tanzania Songea Tanzania Kabinda Congo Kampala Uganda Zinder Niger Bujumbura Burundi cities smart urban urbanization development growth growing inclsuive inclusivity poverty tech technology science data electricity electric power fourth industrial revolution 4ir progress advancement power new revolutionary robot robotics ai artificial intelligence machine learning
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Image: Emmanuel Herman/Reuters

10. Tete, Mozambique, has an estimated 2020 population of 371,000 and is projected to grow by 101% to 744,000 in 2035.

cities growth demographics change increase size Africa populations malawi Lilongwe Ouagadougou Burkina Faso Uige Angola Bobo-Dioulasso Burkina Faso Dar es Salaam Tanzania Tete Mozambique Niamey Niger Bunia Congo Gwagwalada Nigeria Mwanza Tanzania Songea Tanzania Kabinda Congo Kampala Uganda Zinder Niger Bujumbura Burundi cities smart urban urbanization development growth growing inclsuive inclusivity poverty tech technology science data electricity electric power fourth industrial revolution 4ir progress advancement power new revolutionary robot robotics ai artificial intelligence machine learning
Mozambique Image: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

9. Niamey, Niger, has an estimated 2020 population of 1,292,000 and is projected to grow by 101% to 2,600,000 in 2035.

cities growth demographics change increase size Africa populations malawi Lilongwe Ouagadougou Burkina Faso Uige Angola Bobo-Dioulasso Burkina Faso Dar es Salaam Tanzania Tete Mozambique Niamey Niger Bunia Congo Gwagwalada Nigeria Mwanza Tanzania Songea Tanzania Kabinda Congo Kampala Uganda Zinder Niger Bujumbura Burundi cities smart urban urbanization development growth growing inclsuive inclusivity poverty tech technology science data electricity electric power fourth industrial revolution 4ir progress advancement power new revolutionary robot robotics ai artificial intelligence machine learning
Niger. Image: Joe Penney/Reuters

8. Bunia, Congo, has an estimated 2020 population of 679,000 and is projected to grow by 101% to 1,368,000 in 2035.

cities growth demographics change increase size Africa populations malawi Lilongwe Ouagadougou Burkina Faso Uige Angola Bobo-Dioulasso Burkina Faso Dar es Salaam Tanzania Tete Mozambique Niamey Niger Bunia Congo Gwagwalada Nigeria Mwanza Tanzania Songea Tanzania Kabinda Congo Kampala Uganda Zinder Niger Bujumbura Burundi cities smart urban urbanization development growth growing inclsuive inclusivity poverty tech technology science data electricity electric power fourth industrial revolution 4ir progress advancement power new revolutionary robot robotics ai artificial intelligence machine learning
Congo Image: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

7. Gwagwalada, Nigeria, has an estimated 2020 population of 410,000 and is projected to grow by 102% to 827,000 in 2035.

6. Mwanza, Tanzania, has an estimated 2020 population of 1,120,000 and is projected to grow by 102% to 2,267,000 in 2035.

cities growth demographics change increase size Africa populations malawi Lilongwe Ouagadougou Burkina Faso Uige Angola Bobo-Dioulasso Burkina Faso Dar es Salaam Tanzania Tete Mozambique Niamey Niger Bunia Congo Gwagwalada Nigeria Mwanza Tanzania Songea Tanzania Kabinda Congo Kampala Uganda Zinder Niger Bujumbura Burundi cities smart urban urbanization development growth growing inclsuive inclusivity poverty tech technology science data electricity electric power fourth industrial revolution 4ir progress advancement power new revolutionary robot robotics ai artificial intelligence machine learning
Tanzania Image: REUTERS/ Emmanuel Kwitema

5. Songea, Tanzania, has an estimated 2020 population of 353,000 and is projected to grow by 110% to 740,000 in 2035.

cities growth demographics change increase size Africa populations malawi Lilongwe Ouagadougou Burkina Faso Uige Angola Bobo-Dioulasso Burkina Faso Dar es Salaam Tanzania Tete Mozambique Niamey Niger Bunia Congo Gwagwalada Nigeria Mwanza Tanzania Songea Tanzania Kabinda Congo Kampala Uganda Zinder Niger Bujumbura Burundi cities smart urban urbanization development growth growing inclsuive inclusivity poverty tech technology science data electricity electric power fourth industrial revolution 4ir progress advancement power new revolutionary robot robotics ai artificial intelligence machine learning
Songea, Tanzania. Image: Songea Municipal Council

4. Kabinda, Congo, has an estimated 2020 population of 466,000 and is projected to grow by 110% to 979,000 in 2035.

3. Kampala, Uganda, has an estimated 2020 population of 3,928,000 and is projected to grow by 112% to 7,004,000 in 2035.

cities growth demographics change increase size Africa populations malawi Lilongwe Ouagadougou Burkina Faso Uige Angola Bobo-Dioulasso Burkina Faso Dar es Salaam Tanzania Tete Mozambique Niamey Niger Bunia Congo Gwagwalada Nigeria Mwanza Tanzania Songea Tanzania Kabinda Congo Kampala Uganda Zinder Niger Bujumbura Burundi cities smart urban urbanization development growth growing inclsuive inclusivity poverty tech technology science data electricity electric power fourth industrial revolution 4ir progress advancement power new revolutionary robot robotics ai artificial intelligence machine learning
Kampala, Uganda. Image: James Akrena/Reuters

2. Zinder, Niger, has an estimated 2020 population of 489,000 and is projected to grow by 118% to 1,065,000 in 2035.

cities growth demographics change increase size Africa populations malawi Lilongwe Ouagadougou Burkina Faso Uige Angola Bobo-Dioulasso Burkina Faso Dar es Salaam Tanzania Tete Mozambique Niamey Niger Bunia Congo Gwagwalada Nigeria Mwanza Tanzania Songea Tanzania Kabinda Congo Kampala Uganda Zinder Niger Bujumbura Burundi cities smart urban urbanization development growth growing inclsuive inclusivity poverty tech technology science data electricity electric power fourth industrial revolution 4ir progress advancement power new revolutionary robot robotics ai artificial intelligence machine learning
Zinder, Niger Image: Wikimedia Commons

1. Bujumbura, Burundi, has an estimated 2020 population of 1,013,000 and is projected to grow by 123% to 2,263,000 in 2035.

cities growth demographics change increase size Africa populations malawi Lilongwe Ouagadougou Burkina Faso Uige Angola Bobo-Dioulasso Burkina Faso Dar es Salaam Tanzania Tete Mozambique Niamey Niger Bunia Congo Gwagwalada Nigeria Mwanza Tanzania Songea Tanzania Kabinda Congo Kampala Uganda Zinder Niger Bujumbura Burundi cities smart urban urbanization development growth growing inclsuive inclusivity poverty tech technology science data electricity electric power fourth industrial revolution 4ir progress advancement power new revolutionary robot robotics ai artificial intelligence machine learning  An artist jumps as traditional drummers perform the royal drum dance during the UNESCO organized drum festival in Gitega, near Burundian capital Bujumbura, April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana - GF10000392539
Burundi Image: REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana
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