According to the statistics from the Urban and Rural Statistics Yearbook that the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development issued, between 2014 and 2018, 451 cities had “urban expansion and population growth,” 87 cities had “urban expansion and population shrinkage,” 18 cities had “urban contraction and population growth,” and 13 cities had “urban contraction and population shrinkage.”
In 2018, the total newly constructed urban area was 58,456 square kilometers, an increase of 53.4 percent over 2009, while the permanent urban population was 510 million, only 35.8 percent higher than ten years ago. This indicated a phenomenon in which “land urbanization was faster than population urbanization.”
In comparing the data between 2018 and 2014, one can find that the number of cities with urban population reduction is twice the number of cities with urban area reduction. 122 cities experienced a decrease in urban permanent population during those five years; five cities showed little change; and 507 cities maintained a positive population growth. Among them, Longjing City in Jilin province, Jieyang City in Guangdong province and Honghu City in Hubei province are the only three cities whose population has decreased by more than 50 percent.
Most of those with a declining population are the third and fourth tier cities. Two main types of cities exhibited more urban population losses: cities in northeast China where young people are leaving en masse; and the smaller cities in the Pearl River Delta, whose population is beimg absorbed by the two top-tier cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
Source: 21st Century Business Herald, September 12, 2020