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China's Population Data in 2021
After the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics released the 2021 population data, local data have also been released one after another.
Yicai found that as of now, all 31 provinces in China have released the resident population data in 2021. Among the 31 provinces, 16 provinces have seen a decline in the resident population, while other 15 provinces have increased. Among them, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Hubei ranked the top three in increments. At the same time, so far, 27 provinces have released the birth population data in 2021. Guangdong has had the largest birth population for many consecutive years since 2018. In addition, there are 11 provinces with negative natural population growth.
16 provinces experienced negative growth in resident population
The data shows that among the 31 provinces, a total of 15 provinces will achieve growth in the permanent population in 2021. Among them, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Hubei, Jiangsu and Fujian are the top five. They are the four economically developed provinces in the southeast coast and Hubei, a central province that has fully recovered from the epidemic.
Among them, Zhejiang ranked first with an increase of 720,000. Population growth includes natural growth and mechanical growth (ie, net inflow of population). Calculated according to the natural growth rate, the natural population growth in Zhejiang last year was only 65,000, which means that its net inflow of population reached 655,000 last year.
Tang Hairu, deputy director of the Expert Committee of Hangzhou Planning Commission, analyzed that population growth is closely related to regional industrial development, and industrial development requires more labor. Large cities such as Hangzhou and Ningbo have strong innovation momentum and have done a good job in industrial transformation, attracting more people.
After Zhejiang, Guangdong ranked second with an increment of 600,000. However, unlike Zhejiang, Guangdong’s high increase in 2021 is mainly due to the high birth rate. The data shows that Guangdong’s birth rate reached 9.35‰, and the natural population growth rate reached 4.52‰. Last year, the natural population growth in Guangdong reached 571,900, while the newly added net inflow population from other provinces was only 28,100. From the perspective of cities, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, which have been among the top three cities in terms of population growth for many years, had only 47,800 and 70,300 permanent residents last year, and neither city entered the top 20 in terms of urban population growth.
After Guangdong, Hubei ranked the top three with an increase of 547,000. The main reason is that in 2020, due to the impact of the epidemic, some people were outside and were not included in the statistics. After the epidemic, with the full recovery of Hubei’s economy, many people returned to Hubei.
The increments of Jiangsu and Fujian both exceeded 200,000, ranking 4th and 5th respectively. Guangxi has an increase of 180,000 people, ranking sixth. Hainan, Anhui, Shandong and Ningxia ranked 7th to 10th in increments, but these provinces did not have many increments. In general, the provinces with the increase in permanent population mainly come from the southeastern coastal areas with more population inflows, as well as some provinces with high birth rates and the middle Hubei.
In contrast, the resident population of 16 provinces declined, accounting for more than half. Among them, 10 provinces lost more than 100,000 people. Henan, Heilongjiang and Yunnan ranked the top three, and Liaoning, Jilin, and Hunan also lost more than 200,000 people. In general, the provinces with declining population mainly are the northeast, north, northwest and central regions.
Niu Fengrui, a researcher at the Urban Development and Environment Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, analyzed that the number of provinces with negative resident population growth may continue to increase in the future. At present, the spatial optimization of the population distribution in China is still going on. The urban and rural population distribution and regional population distribution are still changing. Some economically developed and economic highlands will gather more population, and these places will account for an increasing proportion of the national population. On the one hand, the population is still gathering towards the southeast coastal areas. On the other hand, although the total population of some provinces is declining, the population of the provincial capitals is still increasing.
Taking Henan as an example, last year the province’s permanent population decreased by 580,000, while the provincial capital Zhengzhou increased by 122,000. For Hunan, its permanent population decreased by 233,900, but its provincial capital Changsha increased by 171,300. And for Shanxi, its permanent population decreased by 100,200 , but its provincial capital Taiyuan increased by 72,500.
Resident population in 2021 / 10000 Unit
Net increase / 10000 Unit
Table: Permanent Resident Population and Changes in 31 Provinces in 2021 (Data source: CBN reporters based on local statistical bulletins and public data)
Birth population data of 27 provinces: Guangdong ranks first in birth population, and many provinces hit record lows
Compared with the resident population data, only 27 provinces have released data on the birth population in 2021. Among them, Guangdong has been the No. 1 birth province for many consecutive years since 2018. At the same time, 11 provinces experienced negative natural population growth.
And in terms of the number of births, Guangdong, Henan and Shandong ranked third. Data shows that in 2021, Guangdong will have a birth population of 1.1831 million, making it the only province to exceed the one million mark for two consecutive years. After surpassing Shandong to become the largest birth province in 2018, Guangdong has ranked first in birth population for many consecutive years.
On the one hand, the large number of births is related to the fact that the inflow population in Guangdong is dominated by young people. Due to the large population of child-bearing age, the birth rate is also high. On the other hand, it is also related to the strong fertility culture and higher fertility willingness in Chaoshan, Zhanjiang and other places. Among them, the birth rate of Shantou last year was 13.2‰, and the natural population growth rate was 8.0‰. Zhanjiang’s birth rate reached 12‰ last year, with a natural growth rate of 8.12‰. Dongguan in the Pearl River Delta has a registered population birth rate of 12.03‰ and a natural population growth rate of 7.95‰.
It is worth noting that from May 1, 2022, the “Guangdong Provincial Health Commission’s Fertility Registration Management Measures” will be officially implemented. The “Measures” clarify that there is no need for approval to give birth to children. And a full-caliber birth registration system is implemented, with the registration process, processing materials and processing time limit more optimized and more convenient for the people.
Prof. Dong Yuzheng, a population expert and dean of the Guangdong Population Development Research Institute, analyzed and made it clear that “there is no need for approval to give birth to children”, simplifying the birth registration procedures, and releasing the most important signal, which is to encourage fertility, active fertility, age-appropriate fertility, prenatal and postnatal care.
After Guangdong, Henan and Shandong, two other provinces with a population of 100 million, had 793,000 and 750,400 births in 2021, ranking second and third respectively. Among them, the number of births in Henan in 2021 has hit a new low since 1978. After falling below the 1 million mark for the first time in 2020, it fell below the 800,000 mark again in 2021.
In several provinces, including Henan, the number of births in 2021 has hit a multi-decade low. An analysis by the Jiangxi Provincial Bureau of Statistics pointed out that the province’s birth population declined rapidly in 2021. The province’s birth population in 2021 is 50,400 fewer than in 2020, and the birth population is less than 400,000 for the first time since the 1950s. The decline in the number of births was mainly affected by factors such as the delay in the age of marriage and childbearing and the weakening effect of the “two-child policy”.
In Jiangsu, the number of people born in Jiangsu in 2021 is about 479,800. Combining the data of the “Jiangsu Statistical Yearbook 2021”, Yicai found that this is the first time since 1978 (the yearbook has released data since 1978) below the 500,000 mark. In Hunan, the number of births in 2021 will be less than 500,000 for the first time in nearly 60 years.
Birth population/ 10000 unit
Natural growth rate
Table: Birth population, birth rate and natural growth rate data in 27 provinces in 2021 (Data source: CBN reporters based on local statistical bulletins and public data)
11 provinces in China experienced natural negative population growth, 5 provinces turned negative for the first time
In terms of birth rate, among the 27 provinces that have published data, a total of 4 provinces have exceeded 1%, or 10 per thousand, namely Tibet, Guizhou, Ningxia and Qinghai, all from the western region. In addition, Guangxi, Gansu, Guangdong and Yunnan exceeded 9 per 1000. While the birth rate in Jiangxi, Fujian and Henan reached or exceeded 8 per 1,000.
Generally speaking, places with higher birth rates tend to be places with lower urbanization rates. Such as the western region and central Jiangxi, Henan. However, two provinces are exceptions, namely Guangdong and Fujian from the southeast coast, and the overall birth rate is also relatively high. The main reason for this is that Chaoshan in Guangdong and southern Fujian are affected by traditional clan cultural factors, so they have strong awareness of fertility culture and a higher willingness to bear children.
In contrast, places with low birth rates mainly come from Northeast China, North China, the Yangtze River Delta, and Chongqing, which has a high urbanization rate. Among them, the birth rate of Shanghai, Jiangsu and Jilin, Liaoning and Heilongjiang in the northeast are all below 6 per 1,000.
From the perspective of natural population growth rate, 11 of the 26 provinces experienced negative natural population growth, namely Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Chongqing, Inner Mongolia, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Hubei, Hebei and Shanxi. Among them, Jiangsu, Hubei, Hunan, Inner Mongolia and Shanxi are the first time that the natural population growth rate has turned negative in recent decades.
And the natural population growth rate of Heilongjiang in the northeast was -5.11‰, that of Liaoning was -4.18‰, and Jilin was -3.38‰. Among them, Jilin has experienced natural negative population growth for many consecutive years since 2018. While Heilongjiang has experienced natural negative population growth for seven consecutive years.
Yi Baozhong, a professor at the Northeast Asia Research Institute of Jilin University, analyzed that the birth rate in Northeast China is low due to two factors.
- Oneis the industrial structure factor:
The decline of the old industrial base and the relatively old industry with the industry structure mainly focusing on the heavy capital and heavy chemical, which has a poor ability to absorb labor, has led to the exodus of young people. After the exodus of young people, the birth rate also falls.
- The otheris also related to historical inertia and demographic structure:
Northeast China has early industrialization and urbanization, strict implementation of birth control, and a large proportion of only children. These only children are now the main body of births in Northeast China, so the birth rate is lower.
Yi Baozhong said that to increase the birth rate in the Northeast, the core is industrial development, and the key is to speed up the adjustment of the industrial structure. It’s also necessary to develop the private economy to increase employment opportunities. For example, the higher education resources in Northeast China are strong, but these higher education resource advantages have not been fully transformed into scientific and technological innovation advantages. In the future, only through technological innovation can an endogenous driving force be formed and a new growth point formed.
In April this year, the State Council issued the “Reply on Approving the Construction of Changchun and Changchun Jingyue High-tech Industrial Development Zones as National Independent Innovation Demonstration Zones”. Changchun High-tech Industrial Development Zone and Changchun Jingyue High-tech Industrial Development Zone are the 22nd national independent innovation demonstration zones in China.
Recently, the State Council officially approved the construction of national independent innovation demonstration zones in Harbin, Daqing and Qiqihar High-tech Industrial Development Zones. It is required to make efforts to build Harbin, Daqing, and Qiqihar High-tech Industrial Development Zones into experimental areas for institutional reform and innovation, old industrial bases and innovative urban transformation demonstration areas, innovation and entrepreneurship ecological benchmark areas, and a pilot zone for coordinated opening to Russia and Northeast Asia.
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