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Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

This decade began just after a historic inflection point, with 51% of the world's population living in urban areas.

By the numbers: That proportion has continued to rise steadily, reaching 55% as of 2018. It's climbed faster in China, up from 48% to 59% — meaning an additional 180 million people are living in Chinese cities.

  • China now has 130 cities of at least 1 million people, more than the U.S. (45), European Union (36) and South America (46) combined.
  • India, which won't become majority-urban until the 2040s, has 61 such cities. There are 63 in Africa.

Nigeria just became majority-urban in 2018, but urbanization in the West African giant will grow even more dramatically over the next decade.

  • Nigeria's 10 largest cities are home to 32 million people as of 2018, with 13 million of those in Lagos.
  • The UN projects their combined populations will rise to 50 million by 2030 — just over a decade away — by which time Lagos will have over 20 million residents.
  • By 2050, the UN projects Nigeria's total population will double to 400 million, with 70% living in cities. Compare that to the U.S. (82% urban), where the population will rise from 330 million to 375 million.

Zoom out: The world's biggest urban areas (UN, 2018):

  1. Tokyo, Japan (37.5 million)
  2. Delhi, India (28.5 million)
  3. Shanghai, China (25.6 million)
  4. São Paulo, Brazil (21.7 million)
  5. Mexico City, Mexico (21.6 million)
  6. Cairo, Egypt (20.1 million)
  7. Mumbai, India (20.0 million)
  8. Beijing, China (19.6 million)
  9. Dhaka, Bangladesh (19.6 million)
  10. Osaka, Japan (19.3 million)

What's next: By 2030, Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will join the list, replacing Osaka.

Flashback: New York City held the No. 10 spot as of 2016 but was bumped off the list by Dhaka. European cities that would have been in the top 10 in decades past — Moscow (24th), Paris (28th), London (37th) — keep sliding.

Go deeper: The decade of the very poor and super rich

Go deeper

Most teachers are white. Most students aren't.

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The nation's 6.6 million teacher workforce has grown more racially and ethnically diverse over the past three decades — but not nearly fast enough to keep pace with a student population that's nearing majority-minority in public schools, two new reports show.

Why it matters: The disparities are especially acute between Hispanic students and teachers, and in schools with 90% or higher non-white student populations.

Updated 12 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 13 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.