The world is currently undergoing a mass urbanization -- as of 2008, and for the first time in history, a majority of the global population now lives in cities. That's just the start. According to the United Nations Population Fund, the urban-dwelling population will swell to nearly five billion by 2030. But whereas it once was the alpha world cities such as New York, London, and Shanghai that were the primary magnets for young people looking to make their fortunes, now a surprising new crop of boomtowns, from the Middle East to Mali, are seeing their populations leapfrog to the top of the list.
According to independent thinktank City Mayors, which studies urban affairs to promote good governance, what follows are the world's fastest-growing cities, based on past growth and forecasts by international statistics organizations. And no, they're not all in China.
Above, a picture of Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, at dusk. Currently making headlines for an uprising and the resultant brutal crackdown, Yemen is likely to face additional social pressure if unemployment rates persist while the population soars.