By the middle of this century it is estimated that the earth’s population will be 9.07 billion, a significant increase from the nearly 7 billion who inhabit the world today. For the first time in history more than half of the world’s population lives in towns and cities rather than in rural areas and this is expected to rise to 70% by 2050. Megacities, cities with more than 10 million inhabitants, are taking hold across the globe, particularly in developing countries. In 1985, there were only nine megacities; today there are 21.
Manila in the Philippines is one of the largest and most densely populated cities in the world. It is home to some 20 million people and growing by a quarter of a million every year. Rural poverty causes thousands of Filipinos to migrate to Manila every year from the countryside in search of a better life. Once there, however, they find few jobs and often have nowhere to live as the city is running out of space. The result is that 35% of the population is living in slums with little access to sanitation, healthcare or a good education.