Ranked: The World’s Biggest Steel Producers, by Country
Steel is a critical component of modern industry and economy, essential for the construction of buildings, automobiles, and many other appliances and infrastructure used in our daily lives.
This graphic uses data from the World Steel Association to visualize the world’s top steel-producing countries, and highlights China’s ascent to the top, as it now makes up more than half of the world’s steel production.
The State of Global Steel Production
Global steel production in 2022 reached 1,878 million tonnes, barely surpassing the pre-pandemic production of 1,875 million tonnes in 2019.
|Country||2022 Production (in million tonnes)||Annual Production Change||Global Share|
|🇺🇸 United States||80.5||-6.5%||4.3%|
|🇰🇷 South Korea||65.9||-6.9%||3.5%|
|Rest of World||201.0||-11.2%||10.7%|
2022’s steel production marked a significant reduction compared to the post-pandemic rebound of 1,960 million tonnes in 2021, with a year-over-year decline of 4.2%–the largest drop since 2009, and prior to that, 1991.
This decline was spread across many of the world’s top steel producers, with only three of the top fifteen countries, India, Iran, and Indonesia, increasing their yearly production. Most of the other top steel-producing countries saw annual production declines of more than 5%, with Turkey, Italy, Taiwan, and Vietnam’s production all declining by double digits.
Even the world’s top steel-producing nation, China, experienced a modest 2% decline, which due to the country’s large production amounted to a decline of 19.8 million tonnes, more than many other nations produce in a year.
Despite India, the world’s second-largest steel producer, increasing its production by 5.3%, the country’s output still amounts to just over one-tenth of the steel produced by China.
China’s Meteoric Rise in Steel Production
Although China dominates the world’s steel production with more than a 54% share today, this hasn’t always been the case.
In 1967, the World Steel Association’s first recorded year of steel production figures, China only produced an estimated 14 million tonnes, making up barely 3% of global output. At that time, the U.S. and the USSR were competing as the world’s top steel producers at 115 and 102 million tonnes respectively, followed by Japan at 62 million tonnes.
Almost three decades later in 1996, China had successively overtaken Russia, the U.S., and Japan to become the top steel-producing nation with 101 million tonnes of steel produced that year.
The early 2000s marked a period of rapid growth for China, with consistent double-digit percentage increases in steel production each year.
The Recent Decline in China’s Steel Production
Since the early 2000s, China’s average annual growth in steel production has slowed to 3.4% over the last decade (2013-2022), a considerable decline compared to the previous decade’s (2003-2012) 15.2% average annual growth rate.
The past couple of years have seen China’s steel production decline, with 2021 and 2022 marking the first time the country’s production fell for two consecutive years in a row.
While it’s unlikely China will relinquish its position as the top steel-producing nation anytime soon, it remains to be seen whether this recent decline marks the beginning of a new trend or just a brief deviation from the country’s consistent production growth.
Ranked: The World’s Largest Cities By Population
This graphic uses data taken from latest official censuses and projections to rank the largest cities by population.
Ranked: The World’s Largest Cities By Population
The world has experienced rapid urbanization over the last century.
Today, more than 4.3 billion people live in urban settings, or 55% of the world’s population.
But what is the world’s largest city? Answers to that question will vary greatly depending on which lines are being used to demarcate city boundaries and measure their populations.
The graphic above uses data taken from the latest official censuses and projections to rank the top cities based on the three most common metrics.
The Largest Cities by City Proper
Our first metric is based on the city proper, meaning the administrative boundaries.
According to the United Nations, a city proper is “the single political jurisdiction which contains the historical city center.”
The Chinese city of Chongqing leads the ranks by this metric and has an administrative boundary the size of Austria, with an urban population of 32.1 million.
The city’s monorail system holds records for being the world’s longest and busiest, boasting 70 stations. Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport, is among the world’s top 50 busiest airports. Additionally, the city ranks among the globe’s top 50 hubs for scientific research.
Other Chinese cities dominate the ranking by this metric:
The first non-Chinese city, Delhi, has been experiencing one of the fastest urban expansions in the world.
The United Nations projects India will add over 400 million urban dwellers by 2050, compared to 250 million people in China and 190 million in Nigeria.
The Largest Cities by Urban Area
This measurement largely ignores territorial boundaries and considers a city a contiguous, connected built-up area.
Demographia describes urban areas as functioning as an integrated economic unit, linked by commuting flows, social, and economic interactions.
By this metric, Tokyo leads the ranking:
|#8||🇧🇷 Sao Paulo||23.1m|
|#10||🇲🇽 Mexico City||21.8m|
The city proper houses about 10% of Japan’s population. If the greater Tokyo metro area is considered, including cities like Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba, then Tokyo’s total population surpasses 37 million—about 30% of the country total.
Consequently, even with one of the world’s largest railway systems, trains in Tokyo are incredibly crowded, with a boarding rate of 200% during peak time in the most overcrowded areas. The city is also famous for its Shibuya Crossing, the busiest intersection on the planet.
The Largest Cities by Metropolitan Area
Tokyo also leads by our final metric, metropolitan area.
This measurement is similar to urban area, but is generally defined by official organizations, either for statistical purposes or governance.
In the United States, this takes the form of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), such as Chicago-Naperville-Elgin or Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler.
|#6||🇲🇽 Mexico City||21.8m|
|#7||🇧🇷 Sao Paulo||21.7m|
|#9||🇺🇸 New York||20.1m|
As the global urban population continues to rise, new cities, especially in Africa and Asia, are expected to vie for the “largest” tag soon.
The UN projects that by 2050, 68% of the world will live in urban areas.
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