Migrant population hits 247m

By Leng Shumei Source:Global Times Published: 2016/10/20 0:08:39

Ethnic minorities drive growth in mobility

China's migrant population accounts for about 18 percent of the total as of 2015, and the numbers of migrant ethnic minorities and foreigners have been increasing in recent years, a latest survey revealed on Wednesday.

The 7th Report on China's Migrant Population Development, published by the National Health and Family Planning Commission, shows that the number of migrant population reached 247 million, or 18 percent of the Chinese population, last year.

"The number of migrant population is supposed to increase by 6 million to 7 million per year by 2020 and reach 327 million in 2030," read the report.

The report noted a slight decline compared with 253 million at the end of 2014 due to short-term economic fluctuation and population control policies in some big cities.

"The increase rate of migrant population will slow down because the population in some large cities has reached a near saturation level and the population increase as a whole in the country has slowed down," Guan Xinping, a professor on social policy at Nankai University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Guan noted that the migrant population has put pressure on urban social security system and the government should balance the development of big cities and small cities.

According to the report, the ratio of ethnic minorities in the migrant population increased from 7.93 percent to 13.60 percent between 2005 and 2010 and the number of foreigners living in China exceeded 1 million in 2010.

Duan Chengrong, a demographics professor at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times that more people from the ethnic minority areas  are migrating compared with 30 years ago, driven mainly by the pursuit of higher income.

"The composition of migrant population has diversified in recent years as more ethnic minorities as well as highly educated people are willing to move," said Duan.

However, Guan noted a lack of policies to provide education service and employment assistance to foreigners in the country.

"Foreigners now get social services through their employers, and China at present lacks a system to provide them with similar services they avail in their home countries," Guan said.

Rural people migrating to small and medium-sized cities within a province accounted for 45.6 percent of the migration within provinces in 2013 and the ratio increased to 50.5 percent in 2015, said the report.

"Small and medium-sized cities are becoming the main destination for migrant rural workers," read the report.

The State Council, China's cabinet, has recently issued a plan to help 100 million migrant people gain household registration, or hukou, in cities during the country's 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), in order to help break the urban-rural gap, accelerate urbanization and augment the country's economic growth.

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