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Order and chaos in China’s cities of multi-million migrants

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CHINA is experiencing the largest wave of urbanisation in human history.

In 1979, only 17.9 percent of the population (84.51 million) lived in cities. At the end of 2017, the urban population reached 813 million, 58.52 percent of the total. Migration on such a massive scale poses great challenges for urban services and governance.

Major cities in China these days each host millions of domestic migrants.

In Shanghai, there are 9.8 million migrants who are not from the city – 40.5 percent of the total population. In Beijing, this figure is 37.3 percent; for Shenzhen it’s 67.7 percent and for Guangzhou it’s 38 percent.

In smaller cities, the share of the migrant population could be even larger. For example, 75.7 percent of the long-term residents of Dongguan are migrants. On average, China’s migrant population has grown by about 3 to 5 percent each year from 2001 to 2016.

SEE ALSO: In China, even the way you walk is under surveillance


The above figures refer only to migrants who have lived in cities for more than six months. It is estimated that another 73 million people across China have lived for less than six months in cities as temporary residents.

In addition, at least 100 million farmers have been resettled to cities because of urban expansion, environmental protection, major infrastructure projects and poverty reduction.

Migrant workers either live in urban neighbourhoods alongside local residents or concentrate in peri-urban houses built by farmers. Resettled farmers usually live in purpose-built high-density neighbourhoods given to them as compensation for........

© Asian Correspondent