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Chinese City Population: Analysis of the Inflow Population from Other Provinces in Chinese Cities
30 cities have more than one million inflows from other provinces, and 3 out of 5 people in Dongguan are from other provinces.
Generally speaking, economically developed areas have more employment opportunities, which will form a strong attraction to the floating population. So, which Chinese cities have the most inflows from outside the province?
Recently, the “2020 China Population Census Sub-County Data” compiled by the Office of the Leading Group for the Seventh National Population Census of the State Council released a number of indicators such as the population size, structure and family living conditions of each county-level unit in the country in 2020. One of them is the population data of townships and subdistricts outside the household registration place.
According to the data, the first financial reporter found that as of 2020, a total of 30 cities have more than 1 million inflows from outside the province, of which 10 cities have more than 3 million. Namely Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Ningbo and Foshan all come from the three major urban agglomerations. From the perspective of the proportion of inflows from outside the province to the permanent population, Dongguan has the highest proportion, reaching 59.2%. And that is equivalent to 3 out of every 5 people from other provinces.
10 cities with the largest inflows from outside the province (unit: 10,000 people)
Out-of-province inflow population
Proportion of inflow population from outside the province
30 cities have more than 1 million inflows from outside the province
The data shows that among the 30 cities with more than 1 million inflows from outside the province, a total of 23 cities are from the eastern coastal areas. While 6 cities are from the central and western regions, all of which are provincial capitals and municipalities. And 1 city is from the northeast region, namely Dalian is a city under separate state planning.
There are 13 cities with a population of more than 2 million from outside the province. 10 cities with a population of more than 3 million. These include the three municipalities Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin, four sub-provincial cities Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Ningbo, as well as three prefecture-level cities Dongguan, Suzhou and Foshan with outstanding manufacturing development.
More prominently, Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen have more than 8 million inflows from outside the province. And Shanghai is the only city with more than 10 million inflows from outside the province.
It should be noted that the inflow population from outside the province attracted by the city is also related to the city’s administrative level and statistical caliber to a certain extent. For example, among the municipalities directly under the China’s Central Government, Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin are urban economies. And all the counties under their jurisdiction have been changed to districts, so the floating population of these three cities is the population outside the province. While the floating population of the provincial cities such as Shenzhen and Dongguan not only come from outside the province, but also from within the province, especially from the east, west and north of Guangdong. Therefore, if the total floating population and net inflow population are counted, Shenzhen exceeds Shanghai and Beijing.
According to the statistics of the CBN reporter, by 2020, Shenzhen’s net inflow population has reached 11.79 million, ranking first. In addition, the proportion of “indigenous people” in Shenzhen is very low, and many people with household registration have only settled down in the past two decades.
From the perspective of the distribution of urban agglomerations, there are 4 cities in the Pearl River Delta that rank in the top 10 in terms of inflows from outside the province. And among them, 3 cities rank in the top 5, namely Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou, and Foshan ranks 10th. From the perspective of the proportion of inflows from outside the province to the total permanent population, Dongguan ranks first among all cities with 59.2%, which is equivalent to 3 out of every 5 people in Dongguan coming from outside the province.
Dongguan, with an area of only 2,474 square kilometers, was upgraded to a prefecture-level city in 1988. With the development of export trade, Dongguan has gradually developed into one of the largest manufacturing bases in the world. It has formed a modern industrial system with eight major industries including electronic information, electrical machinery, textile and clothing, furniture, toys, paper and paper products, food and beverage, and chemical industry as the pillars. Dongguan is also known as the “world factory”. Industrial development has brought a large number of jobs, and the proportion of employees in Dongguan’s manufacturing industry is as high as 58.08%, which is close to 60%.
In addition to the Pearl River Delta, there are also 4 cities in the Yangtze River Delta that rank in the top 10 in terms of inflows from outside the province, namely Shanghai at No. 1, Suzhou at No. 6, Hangzhou at No. 8, and Ningbo at No. 9. In addition, Wenzhou is at No. 11. , Jinhua ranked 13th, Jiaxing ranked 15th, and Wuxi ranked 16th. Overall, if expanded to the top 20, more cities in Zhejiang will be listed. In particular, many counties in Zhejiang have attracted a large number of inflows from outside the province.
Tang Hairu, deputy director of the Expert Committee of the Hangzhou Planning Commission, analyzed that the regional economic development in Zhejiang is relatively balanced. Most counties and cities have their own lumpy economies, and the demand for labor is also relatively large. However, the labor supply in Zhejiang itself is relatively short. Therefore, among the migrant population in these counties, relatively few come from other counties in the province, and more from other provinces.
In the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban agglomeration, there are two municipalities directly under China’s Central Government, Beijing and Tianjin, with more than 1 million inflows from outside the province, and both of them exceed 3 million.
The floating population of the powerful provincial capitals in the central and western regions mainly comes from within the province
In the central and western regions of China, the city with the largest inflow population from outside the province is Chongqing, a municipality directly under the central government, with a population of 2.194 million. And Chengdu ranks 19th with a population of 1.494 million. In addition, Xi’an, Wuhan, Urumqi and Kunming also have more than 1 million inflows from other provinces.
It is worth noting that for strong provincial capitals in the central and western regions such as Zhengzhou, Chengdu, Changsha, Hefei, etc., although the total inflow population from outside the province does not rank among the top, that from within the province is very large. Taking Zhengzhou as an example, the inflow population from outside the province is only 548,000. However, as the capital of Henan, the province with the largest registered population, Zhengzhou has attracted at least 3 million people from other cities in the province. What’s more, the threshold for settlement is relatively loose. The population of other cities in the province also settled in Zhengzhou.
The advantages of Henan’s rich labor resources have also attracted many enterprises with large demand for labor to settle down. For example, as a major producer of iPhones, since the Foxconn iPhone project entered the Zhengzhou Airport Economic Zone in the second half of 2011, the import and export of foreign trade in Henan Province has grown by leaps and bounds, and many smartphone brands have been brought together in the Zhengzhou Airport Economic Zone.
As the capital of Sichuan, the most populous province in the west China, Chengdu has a population of 1.494 million from outside the province, and more than 4 million from other cities in the province. Similar situations also appeared in Hefei, Changsha and other places.
Niu Fengrui, a researcher at the Urban Development and Environment Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, analyzed that there is a certain gap in economic development between the central and western regions and the developed coastal regions. Therefore, the population flowing out of the province is mainly in the southeast coast, and less in the central and western provinces. In terms of demand, Guangdong, Zhejiang and other places have a large economic aggregate and a great demand for labor. The labor force in the province is far from enough, and a large number of labor forces from outside the province are needed. For the populous provinces in the central and western regions, the labor supply in the province is relatively sufficient to meet the needs of local enterprises, so the population from outside the province is also relatively small.
Niu Fengrui also said that for enterprises with a large demand for labor, choosing a city like Zhengzhou can give full play to the advantages of sufficient local labor resources, coupled with low land costs and large development space. That is a very rational choice. For the local area, the introduction of such large enterprises is also conducive to accelerating local industrial and economic development, and promoting the employment and urbanization of the nearby population. For employees, compared with the long-distance population movement, it is a rational choice to go to the provincial capital for employment. Because the migration cost is relatively low, and it is convenient to take care of the family.
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