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Reason Foundation

Out of Control Policy Blog

Tracking China: Census 2010

Samuel Staley
May 4, 2011, 2:19pm

Wendell Cox has a revealing and accessible summary of the major demographic trends facing China from the nation's 2010 census. Increasing wealth and the one child policy has helped dramatically reduce population growth rates, Wendell contends. Now, 50 percent of China's population lives in cities, implying 50 million more people live in cities than the United Nations projected for 2010. Notably, the "floating population"--migrants how lack formal registration--increased by 100 million to 220 million (about two thirds of the total U.S. population).

More interestingly, 83 percent of the population migration has been to the eastern and coastal provinces. This shouldn't be a surprise since this is where the vast majority of the job growth has been since the reforms opened up China's economy in the late 1970s. What is surprising, however, is that some internal provinces and municipalities such as Chongqing (where Reason has a research project) and Chengdu (Sichuan Province) are not experiencing similar rapid growth. Their populations are falling. These provinces in Central China are targets of the national government's growth initiatives.


Samuel Staley is Research Fellow


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