The number of Beijing's migrant workers is increasing. Picture: City workers from China's rural areas wait for buses home. (File Photo/Xinhua)
Beijing and Shanghai have experienced a rapid population increase over the past 10 years. Beijing's permanent resident population approached 20 million, while Shanghai's topped 23 million in 2010. The ratio of migrants from other regions to total resident population in Beijing has also climbed to more than 30 percent, according to the sixth population census statistics released by the two municipalities.
The statistics showed that Beijing's permanent resident population surged to 19.612 million in 2010, an increase of 6.043 million people from 10 years ago.
Migrants from other regions of China accounted for 35.9 percent of Beijing residents, a significant increase over the 18.9 percent reported 10 years ago, according to the statistics.
Migrants are the main contributors to Beijing's population growth, said Gu Yangzhou, deputy director of the Beijing Statistics Bureau. "Ten years ago, one in every five Beijing residents was a migrant, as opposed to one in three now," he added.
He also said that the development of Beijing's economy and society was closely related to the massive influx of high-end talent and employees in the services sector. Furthermore, the large inflow of middle-aged residents has helped prevent Beijing's population from aging rapidly, he pointed out.
According to the census, the number of males in Beijing totaled 10.126 million, accounting for 51.6 percent of the permanent resident population in the city and the number of females was 9.486 million, accounting for 48.4 percent of the city's total permanent population. The male-to-female ratio was 106.8, lower than the 108.9 seen in 2000.
In terms of the population's age structure, the number of people aged 0-14 was 1.687 million, or 8.6 percent of Beijing's permanent residents, lower than the national average of 16.6 percent. This indicates that the ratio of young people in Beijing has fallen.
Gu said that a significant increase in the number of immigrants is the main factor for the sharp drop in the number of young people in Beijing. The city's migrants might be taking some pressure off Beijing's aging population for now, but the decline in the ratio of young people and a surge in the ratio of people aged 65 and above suggest Beijing is facing problems with its birth rate and "graying" population.
Similarly, according to the sixth census statistics released by the Shanghai Statistics Bureau, the city's residents totaled 23.0191 million, a 3.24 percent increase from a year ago. Meanwhile, the number of migrants who have relocated from other provinces to Shanghai increased to 8.977 million, accounting for 38.98 percent of the city's total permanent residents.
The number of migrants to the city has increased 159.08 percent over the past ten years, the main factor for the city's explosive population growth, data showed.
Among Shanghai's permanent residents, 87.75 percent are migrants who came from other regions of China, according to the statistics.
Gu Yangzhou 顧兗州