Reuters

Figures from a new report on China's cities show a rapid transformation.

The Chinese government has just released its latest annual report on urban development and cities, and some of the figures within it are pretty astounding. China is becoming an urban nation at an incredible speed, according to "The Urban Blue Book: China City Development Report No. 5," published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Back in October, China announced that its urban population had officially passed the 50 percent mark. The overall population and urbanization rates haven't been updated since then, but this latest report holds a lot of interesting figures on how China is transitioning from a largely rural country to a very urban one.

The report, unfortunately, doesn't appear to be available in English anywhere online. However, a number of news reports – from the Telegraph, China Daily, Xinhua and The Global Times – highlight some interesting figures:

  • 690 million – Urban Chinese population
  • 656 million – Rural Chinese population
  • 51.27 percent – Amount of population living in urban areas in 2011
  • 25 percent – Amount of population living in urban areas in 1982
  • 90 percent – Amount of population living in rural areas in 1949
  • 60 percent – Amount of population employed outside the agricultural sector
  • 200-300 million – Number of migrant workers estimated to have taken up at least partial residence in cities
  • 500 million – Number of migrant workers for whom authorities need to devise methods of urbanizing, according to the report
  • $786 billion – Estimated amount needed to provide social security and public services for the 500 million new urban residents in the next 20 years
  • 5.2-to-1 – Income ratio for urban residents compared to rural residents
  • 3.13-to-1 – Disposable income ratio for urban residents compared to rural residents
  • 26 percent – Amount the urban-rural income gap has increased since 1997
  • 68 percent – Amount the urban-rural income gap has increased since 1985
  • 76-90 percent – the amount of urban dwellers in China's three largest municipalities, Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin

Top image: A laborer works at a construction site in Beijing's central business district. Jason Lee/Reuters

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of Zurich, Switzerland
    Life

    Death to Livability!

    What does it really mean when certain kinds of cities keep getting ranked as the world’s “most livable”?

  2. A rendering of Quayside, the waterfront development now being planned for Toronto.
    Solutions

    A Big Master Plan for Google's Growing Smart City

    Google sibling company Sidewalk Labs has revealed its master plan for the controversial Quayside waterfront development—and it’s a lot bigger.

  3. a photo of a highway
    Transportation

    Americans Are Spending Billions on Bad Highway Expansions

    PIRG’s annual list of “highway boondoggles” includes nine transportation projects that will cost a total of $25 billion while driving up emissions.

  4. Felipe Rose.
    Life

    A Gay Icon Remembers Life in the Village, and in the Village People

    Fifty years after Stonewall, Felipe Rose—“The Indian” from the Village People—remembers New York City’s Greenwich Village as the gay rights movement took hold.

  5. Design

    Revisiting Pittsburgh’s Era of Big Plans

    A conversation with the trio of authors behind a new book about the Steel City’s mid-20th-century transformation.

×