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DC09

Most of world will live in cities by 2007, UN says

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UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - Urban areas are growing so quickly that for the first time in history, most of the world will be living in cities by 2007, a new UN study said.

The changes are so rapid that by 2015, the list of the world's largest cities will be dramatically different -- but for the foreseeable future, Tokyo will remain the largest city in the world.

The study by the UN population division estimated that 48 percent of the world's population was living in urban areas in 2003.

"It is projected to exceed the 50 percent mark by 2007, thus marking the first time in history that the world had more urban residents than rural residents," the study said.

Most of that growth will not come in mega-cities like Tokyo, Mexico City and New York, however, but in smaller urban areas that currently have fewer than a half million residents.

Those changes are having a drastic impact on how nations around the world treat the issue of population growth, with many now actively taking steps to cut it back.

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