Development and Finance from issue 2010/3

József Tóth

Centres and Megalopolises of the Global Economy

- Abstract -

JEL R-00


Around the beginning of the 21st century the earth’s population reached 6 billion, and today it is close to 7 billion. Over the last 25 years there have been considerable changes between the individual continents. These are evident in Asia, easily in first place, and in Australia bringing up the rear, insofar as Asia's proportion gradually fell over 200 years and that of Australia grew, while the demographic explosion after World War II sharply increased the proportion of the most inhabited continent. The changes have affected Europe the most: its share which rose gradually to almost 25% by 1900 fell by the middle of the century, before plummeting to barely more than 10% by the early 21st century. Although with lower figures, the same process essentially took place in Anglo-Saxon America too: by the mid-20th century it overtook Latin America, but today it has now fallen far behind given that the latter is slowly but surely increasing its share. After declining until the end of the 19th century Africa started to improve its position as regards its share of the world population, initially slowly then much more quickly, and now records the most dynamic growth in population of all the continents.

József Tóth, professor of geography, rector emeritus (University of Pécs)

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