China urban tide to grow by 100 million in 10 years

Sun Oct 9, 2011 10:36pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

BEIJING (Reuters) - More than 100 million rural Chinese people will settle in towns and cities in the next decade, testing provision of welfare and services as a new generation of migrants turn their backs on farming, according to a new government report.

The National Population and Family Planning Commission report forecast that by 2020, China's urban population would pass 800 million, and many of the new residents are rural migrants who lack old-age and medical insurance in the towns and cities they want to call home, media reports said on Monday.

The study, based on survey data from 2010, is the latest to underscore how important, and how challenging, the ramifications of China's tide of urbanisation are.

"Our country still faces many challenges in achieving healthy urbanisation," said the report, according to a summary from the Xinhua news agency.

"At present, we still have not formed a sensible array of cities and towns, and overall urban capacity urgently needs to be strengthened," it said.

"The migrant population strongly desires to be absorbed into the areas where they live, but there is a stark conflict between supply and demand of urban public services."

China's census last year found the country had 1.34 billion people, and 670 million were residents of towns and cities.

Many new urbanites are young rural migrants with no plans to return to villages and farming after years in factories and on building sites, unlike their parents' generation.

Although their wages have risen in recent years, this "new generation" of migrants also needs better housing, healthcare and schooling opportunities. The report found 52 percent of Chinese rural migrants had no social welfare insurance.   Continued...

<p>A worker walks past a residential construction site in Beijing June 23, 2011. REUTERS/Soo Hoo Zheyang</p>