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City dwellers outnumber rural in China

The Sydney News.Net
Wednesday 18th January, 2012


City dwellers outnumber rural in China
BEIJING - City dwellers in China outnumber its rural people for the first time in the nation's history.

The National Bureau of Statistics has said that urban dwellers accounted for 51.27 per cent of China's 1.34 billion people at the end of 2011. The figure includes 252.78 million migrant workers.

According to government website China.org.cn, the number of urban dwellers increased by 21 million to hit 690.79 million as of the end of 2011, the NBS said.

"Meanwhile, the rural population fell by 14.56 million to 656.56 million" till the end of 2011, the NBS said.

"The nation's total population increased by 6.44 million over the past year to 1.34 billion," the site quoted the NBS as saying.

The number of people between the ages of 15 and 64 stood at about 1 billion, or 74.4 percent of the nation's total - down 0.1 percent from the previous year.

The census for the first time counted migrant workers - where they were living, rather than where they were registered.

China's rural population, which had stood at 81 percent in 1979, fell as reform fueled a more than 90-fold increase in the economy during that time.

"Urbanization has been a fundamental driver behind China's economic growth," Chang Jian, an economist at Barclays Capital in Hong Kong, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. "Urbanization in China still has a long way to go, maybe for another 20 years."

According to Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz, urbanization in China along with technology developments in the United States, will be the two most important issues that will shape the world's development during the 21st century.

Per capita urban disposable income increased 8.4 per cent last year to $3,454, according to the statistics bureau. The average rural resident makes $1,105.

Zheng Zhenzhen, a professor at the Institute of Population and Labor Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Science, told Bloomberg: "One of the government's top priorities now is to look after the lowest rungs of the urban population."


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