Urbanization Is Transforming the World — Again | American Funds

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Urbanization Is Transforming the World — Again

“The companies that make elevators and escalators are in a wonderful business. They install it, and then they maintain it for years on end. Very high returns on capital.”

Jody Jonsson, Portfolio Manager

Megacities Are Booming Around the World

History has shown that migration to cities lifts the incomes of individuals, the wealth of nations and the global economy.

Getting Taller All the Time: Maybe the Sky Isn’t the Limit

2014 was the “tallest year ever,” with the completion of a record 97 buildings above 200 meters.

Going Up: Elevators Are a $77 Billion Business

With 28 buildings over 1,312 feet in height due for completion by the end of 2018, demand for elevators will be on the rise.

The world’s cities will be inhabited by a game-changing new wave of consumers. From elevators to highways, the evolution of cities will require massive investments in infrastructure, creating significant opportunities for companies and investors.

Sources: World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision, CD-ROM Edition, United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, © 2014 United Nations, reprinted with the permission of the United Nations (megacities); CTBUH Year in Review: Tall Trends of 2014, and Forecasts for 2015, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (skyscrapers); and KONE Primer, CS European Capital Goods, May 2015, Credit Suisse (elevators/escalators). Megacities are based on the population size of urban agglomerations with more than 10 million inhabitants as of July 1, 2014. Total number of megacities for 2030 includes those cities shown for 1990, with the exception of Seoul, South Korea. While Seoul qualified as a megacity in 1990, it is projected to have fewer than 10 million inhabitants in 2030; as such, it is not counted in the total number of megacities for 2030. Total number of buildings completed for each year includes tall (600+ feet/200+ meters), supertall (900+ feet/300+ meters) and megatall (1,900+ feet/600+ meters) buildings; projected data for 2015 and 2016 represent expected, not possible, completions. Data for elevators and escalators are Credit Suisse estimates, based on company data as of fiscal year 2014, for new installations and maintenance.


Investments are not FDIC-insured, nor are they deposits of or guaranteed by a bank or any other entity, so they may lose value.

Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained in the fund prospectuses and summary prospectuses, which can be obtained from a financial professional and should be read carefully before investing. 

Statements attributed to an individual represent the opinions of that individual as of the date published and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Capital Group or its affiliates. This information is intended to highlight issues and not to be comprehensive or to provide advice.