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Video: The 5 Largest Cities Throughout the Course of History

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The world’s most influential cities have certain attributes that make them appear timeless.

Metropolises like New York City, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and London have unprecedented size, opportunities, economic might, and cultural significance, that it’s easy to imagine them as permanent and unparalleled fixtures on the world stage.

However, any glance at world history shows us immediately that these places are not as exceptional or as timeless as we would like to think. Over time, it seems that even the most important cities eventually fall or slip in status.

That’s why a glance at the record books can be humbling, as we come across the names of many ancient cities that were the most important during their time – places like Luoyang, Ctesiphon, Pataliputra, and Constantinople – that today, the majority of people are much less familiar with.

The 5 Largest Cities Over Time

Today we present to you two videos from the Ollie Bye Youtube channel that show the rapidly changing history of the world’s top cities by population.

It’s incredible to watch the rise and fall of these cities, especially when we’re talking about the centers that were the undisputed heavyweight champions of their day.

The 5 Largest Cities (Years: 3000 BC to 1600 AD)

Over this massive span of time, the designation of the world’s most populous city shifts 16 times.

Rome keeps the title for an impressive period – over 400 years – while Baghdad and Chinese cities also have impressive runs as well. However, what’s most provoking about the video is the list of lesser-known cities that have held the title, such as Chang’an, Merv (Marv), and Pi-Ramesses.

The 5 Largest Cities (Years: 1600 to 2100)

During this much shorter stretch of time of more modern history, the rate of urbanization is skyrocketing and cities are now growing at exponential rates.

The most populous city shifts nine times – and by the year 2100, it’s projected that the five most populous cities could have 370 million people living between them.

This would be higher than the total population of the entire world in the 12th century.

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Demographics

Median Age of the Population in Every Country

How do countries around the world compare in terms of age? This compelling visualization shows the median age for every country in the world.

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The Median Age of the Population in Every Country

View the full-size version of the infographic by clicking here

With a few notable exceptions, the world is rapidly aging.

Today’s infographic, which was shared by Bill Gates on Reddit, shows this incredible explosion in age and how different countries contrast with one another on this demographic metric.

While aging populations in Europe, North America, and Asia stand out on this type of visualization, it’s also important to look at the negative space. In both South America and Africa, populations are still quite young, with Africa getting younger and younger.

Note: The infographic is grouped based on U.N. regional classifications, and lumps Central America, the Caribbean, and South America as one demographic region.

The Oldest Countries

Which countries are the outliers in terms of global demographics?

Let’s start by taking a look at the oldest countries in terms of median age.

RankCountryMedian AgeRegion
#1Japan47 yearsAsia
#2 (t)Germany45 yearsEurope
#2 (t)Italy45 yearsEurope
#4 (t)Greece44 yearsEurope
#4 (t)Bulgaria44 yearsEurope
#4 (t)Portugal44 yearsEurope

Japan takes the cake for the oldest population and it’s joined by a host of European nations.

The following countries tied for the #7 spot, which is just off of the above list: Austria, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Spain, and Bermuda. All of these places had median ages of 43 years, with Bermuda being the only non-European state of this group.

It’s worth noting that some smaller countries appear to be excluded from Gates’ infographic. As we showed on our last chart covering the subject of median age, which uses a different data set, the small city-state of Monaco (which has a population of just 39,000 people) actually has the highest median age in the world at 53.1 years.

The Youngest Countries

Now, let’s take a peek at the world’s youngest countries in terms of median age.

RankCountryMedian AgeRegion
#1 (t)Chad14 yearsAfrica
#1 (t)Niger14 yearsAfrica
#3 (t)Afghanistan16 yearsMiddle East
#3 (t)Angola16 yearsAfrica
#3 (t)Burkina Faso16 yearsAfrica
#3 (t)Mali16 yearsAfrica
#3 (t)Somalia16 yearsAfrica
#3 (t)South Sudan16 yearsAfrica
#3 (t)Uganda16 yearsAfrica

The youngest countries globally are Chad and Niger with a median population age of 14 years. Both are located in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The only non-African country is war-torn Afghanistan, where the median age is 16 years.

A variety of countries tied with a median age of 17 years old, which puts them just off of the above list. Those countries include: Benin, Burundi, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia, Yemen, and Timor-Leste.

More Context on Aging

Want to get an even better idea of what the world looks like as it ages?

To get a sense of change over the coming decades, it’s worth taking a look at this animation that shows median age projections with a focus on Western countries all the way until the year 2060.

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Demographics

Mapping the Global Migration of Millionaires

Which countries are magnets for the world’s rich, and which countries are seeing a wealth exodus? Mapping the migration of the world’s millionaires.

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The world’s wealthiest people are also the most mobile.

High net worth individuals (HNWIs) – persons with wealth over US$1 million – may decide to pick up and move for a number of reasons. In some cases they are attracted by jurisdictions with more favorable tax laws, or less pollution and crime. Sometimes, they’re simply looking for a change of scenery.

Today’s graphic, using data from the annual Global Wealth Migration Review, maps the migration of the world’s millionaires, and clearly shows which countries are magnets for the world’s rich, and which countries are seeing a wealth exodus.

The Flight of the Millionaires

It’s no secret that China has been a wealth creation machine over the past two decades. Although the country is still making a number of its citizens very wealthy, over 15,000 Chinese HNWIs still chose to migrate to other countries in 2018 – the most significant migration of any country.

Here’s a look at the top countries by HNWI outflows:

CountryNet Outflow of NHWIs (2018)% of HNWIs lost
🇨🇳 China15,0002%
🇷🇺 Russia7,0006%
🇮🇳 India5,0002%
🇹🇷 Turkey4,00010%
🇫🇷 France3,0001%
🇬🇧 United Kingdom3,0000%
🇧🇷 Brazil2,0001%
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia1,0002%
🇮🇩 Indonesia1,0002%

Figures rounded to nearest 1000.

Unlike the middle class, wealthy citizens have the means to pick up and leave when things start to sideways in their home country. An uptick in HNWI migration from a country can often be a signal of negative economic or societal factors influencing a country.

This is the case in Turkey, which has been rocked by instability, mass protests, and an inflation rate estimated to be in the triple-digits by some sources.

For the third straight year, Turkey lost more than 4,000 millionaires. An estimated 10% of Turkey’s HNWIs fled in 2018, which is concerning because unlike China and India, the country is not producing new millionaires in any significant number.

Millionaire Magnets

Time-honored locations – such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands – continue to attract the world’s wealthy, but no country is experiencing HNWI inflows quite like Australia.

The Land Down Under has a number of attributes that make it an attractive destination for migrating millionaires. The country has a robust economy, and is perceived as being a safe place to raise a family. Even better, Australia has no inheritance tax and a lower cost of health care, which can make it an attractive alternative to the U.S.

In 2018, Australia jumped ahead of both Canada and France to become the seventh largest wealth market in the world.

Here’s a look at HNWI inflows around the world:

CountryNet Inflow of HNWIs (2018)% of HNWI Gained
🇦🇺 Australia12,0003%
🇺🇸 United States10,0000%
🇨🇦 Canada4,0001%
🇨🇭 Switzerland3,0001%
🇦🇪 United Arab Emerates2,0002%
🇧🇲 Caribbean*2,0003%
🇳🇿 New Zealand1,0001%
🇸🇬 Singapore1,0000%
🇮🇱 Israel1,0001%
🇵🇹 Portugal1,0002%
🇬🇷 Greece1,0002%
🇪🇸 Spain1,0001%

Figures rounded to nearest 1000. *Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Virgin Islands, St Barts, Antigua, St Kitts & Nevis, etc

Greece, which was one of the worst performing wealth markets of the last decade, is finally seeing a modest inflow of millionaires again.

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