The population of China’s Pearl River Delta has tripled since 1992 and includes two of the world’s megacities

The Greater Pearl River Delta area in southeastern China is the world’s largest “mega-region” with a population of approximately 120 million people (UN 2010). Over the past two decades, the populations of the delta cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen have each reached nearly 10 million people while Hong Kong, Foshan and Dongguan have grown to around 5 million each (UN 2009). The individual cities are beginning to merge into one contiguous urban area. The core delta area shown in the above image had a little over 20 million people in the early 1990s but has since tripled to roughly 60 million people (SEDAC 2010). This intense urbanization has led to the loss of productive farmland and natural areas among other environmental problems (Yan and others 2009).

This graphic is part of the publication Keeping Track of Our Changing Environment.

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