China’s urbanization chart and its accuracy

Urbanization chart

The progression of urbanisation in China since 1982. In purple: the increase in population in cities and villages. In blue: the corresponding decrease in population in the countryside.  The rate of increase accelerates after the year 2000, when the real estate market begins to soar. After that, the rate of increase per year surpasses 1%. The figures should be called into question because only 35% of those defined as belonging to the “urban population” by the chart of the bureau of statistics have an urban hukou (registered permanent household). Thus, the chart shows the rate of urbanisation measured by the factual resident population. This means that out of the total population defined as urban, i.e. 650 million people, there are about 200 million migrant workers who still haven’t been fully urbanised. Although they might have non-agricultural jobs, they do not enjoy urban welfare benefits. This is what Chinese scholars call   “half-baked” urbanisation  (ban chengshihua – 半城市化).



Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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