The 9 Most Overcrowded Cities in the World

Courtanae Heslop
5 min readOct 9, 2022


People have been crowding together for thousands of years. The first cities were built by people who wanted to be close to each other, and they still are today. It’s just that today we have a lot more people than ever before! In fact, in some parts of the world, it’s not unusual to find yourself living right next door to your neighbor — and even sharing a wall with them. But how much is too much? Are there places where overcrowding has gotten so bad that it’s unsafe or unhealthy? If you’re curious about which cities around the world are most overpopulated, read on!

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Despite its extreme population density, Dhaka isn’t the most populous city in the world. That honor belongs to Tokyo with 38 million residents. However, Dhaka is expected to become more crowded than New York City within a few decades due to its rapid growth and lack of planning.

The capital city of Bangladesh has a population of 17 million people and an average population density of 13,000 per square kilometer (about 5400 people per square mile). The urbanization rate is also high at 46%, meaning that more than half of the country’s total population lives in cities and towns.

Karachi, Pakistan

Karachi’s population is roughly 20 million, making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The city’s lack of infrastructure has contributed to this overcrowding, as there are too many people and not enough resources. This problem will continue to worsen unless the government takes action to address it, such as building more schools and housing units.

Delhi, India

The city of Delhi is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It has a population of about 20 million people and has a high crime rate, as well as high rates of pollution. The city’s population is expected to increase by 50% over the next 20 years due to continued migration from rural areas and villages into the city.

Mumbai, India

Located in the state of Maharashtra, Mumbai is the most populated city in India. It’s also the financial and commercial capital of India, and one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

As a result, it’s no surprise that Mumbai is extremely overcrowded. The population count for this city alone is about 18 million people!

Lagos, Nigeria

The population of Lagos, Nigeria is estimated at 21.5 million people, which makes it the most populous city in Africa and one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The average age of residents is 24 years old and 52% live in slums.

The population growth rate is 2.9%, but due to an influx of migrants from rural areas, this number continues to rise as well:

Nigeria’s population increased from 115 million to 189 million between 1960–2010 — a growth rate of 2%. Lagos accounted for over half of Nigeria’s total increase during that period (57%), increasing its population by 83%.

Manila, Philippines

The Philippines is one of the fastest-growing countries in the world, growing at an annual rate of 1.6 percent from 2010 to 2015. Manila is its capital and has been experiencing rapid growth since colonial times. The city boasts a population density that’s nearly five times that of New York City (more than 50,000 people per square kilometer). This figure is expected to increase by another 20 percent by 2025.

The government has been trying to address concerns about overcrowding with initiatives like promoting urban development outside Metro Manila and encouraging Filipinos who live abroad to visit more often. It also recently announced plans to build new cities in other parts of the country where residents could move if they wanted less urban congestion but still had access to opportunities like education and healthcare

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Nowhere on Earth is the population density of a city higher than in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. With an estimated 2 million people per square kilometer, it’s like living in Times Square during rush hour. The DRC’s capital breaks all records when it comes to overcrowding: according to UN data, the city has about 58,000 people per sq km — more than New York City (27,000), London (31,000) or Paris (38).

Cairo, Egypt

Cairo, Egypt has a population density of over 4,000 people per square kilometre. The city is also experiencing a high rate of growth, which means that overcrowding will only get worse over time.

Cairo’s population is growing at twice the rate of other major cities in the world, and it can’t keep up with its own out-of-control growth.

Beijing, China

  • Beijing is the capital of China, and its population is nearly 22 million.
  • The city has been called “the Big Smoke” by outsiders for its polluted skies.
  • It’s the home of the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics games, which were held in nearby Tianjin.
  • Beijing is also known as Peking when written in English — the name was given to it by Westerners who thought they were being clever when they took a piece from one of its names: “Peking,” or “Bei-jing” in Mandarin Chinese means northern capital (in contrast to Nanjing).

Overcrowding is a big problem in

As the world’s population continues to grow, we are seeing more and more crowded cities. Overcrowding is a big problem in cities because it creates many problems both for people living in these areas and for the environment.

For example, if there is too much traffic during rush hour then it can be really hard to get around town and this will cause problems if you need to go somewhere quickly. It also takes up a lot of space which could otherwise be used for parks or green spaces where people could play sports or relax outside with their families instead of sitting in their cars waiting for traffic lights to change colors so they can drive again!


If you live in one of these cities and have had to deal with the stress of overcrowding, then you know that it’s not easy. But things are getting better in some places; for example, Delhi has started restricting car use during rush hour so that people can move more easily around town. And while we won’t see any clear solutions anytime soon (if ever), we hope that this list will help people find some peace of mind.