Figure 1.16 Urban share of population, 1982–2017
CHAPTER 1 POPULATION DEMOGRAPHICS
Source: National Bureau of Statistics, China Statistical Yearbook, 2018
The urbanization rate (the urban share of population20) increased from 21.2 per cent in 1982 to over 50 per cent in 2011 for the first time, and rose further to 58.5 per cent in 2017, corresponding to 813 million urban population. Beginning in the early 1980s, this increase was fuelled by the migration of large numbers of surplus agricultural workers and rural populations seeking better economic opportunities in cities. a
a Since 1987, China has implemented a strategy to manage urbanization by supporting the growth of small cities, developing medium-sized cities and limiting the size of big cities. In order to promote steady urbanization at this stage, help the migrant population to settle in cities and ensure they are gradually covered by urban basic public services, the Government issued the Opinions on Further Promoting Reform of Household Registration System in 2014. One of its measures was to adjust the household registration policy for migrants. The country will relax overall control of farmers settling in towns and small cities (cities with fewer than 500,000 people, reduce restrictions on settling in medium-sized cities (500,000–1,000,000 people) in an orderly manner, set requirements for rural residents to obtain hukou in large cities (1–5 million people), and control the size of population in megacities (over 5 million people).