Beijing population shrinking for first time since 1997

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/21 22:58:39

Number of residents falling for first time since 1997

Beijing's population is shrinking thanks to tough new population control policies, said an official report published Thursday.

Beijing's official permanent residents increased 24,000 to 21.729 million in 2016, but the permanent migrant population fell 151,000 to 8.07 million, according to the Annual Report on Analysis of Beijing Society-Building 2017 issued by the Beijing University of Technology and the social work committee of Communist Party of China Beijing Committee.

It was the first time that Beijing's population has shrunk since 1997, the report said.

"Under the background of removing non-capital function, targeting the goals of social governance modernization…Beijing promotes the fine municipal management" and "improves the level of basic public services," Beijing has "achieved good performance on society-building in 2016," the report said.

Beijing closed 1,341 general manufacturing and polluting companies from 2013 to 2016. Some 372 manufacturers have already been relocated this year, accounting 74.4 percent of the annual target, the Xinhua News Agency reported in June.

Beijing will meet its annual targets for restricting population growth and moving non-capital functions away from the city, said Liu Bozheng, deputy director of the office overseeing the integration of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province, at a press conference in June.

"Beijing's population needs to be controlled but the government should be careful about simply pushing the migrants out of Beijing," said Yin Zhi, dean of the Urban Planning and Design Institute of Tsinghua University.

A healthy urban population system should be diverse, which means it needs to include people from different classes and industries, he noted.

"If a city's majority is upper-class, its development is unsustainable. Migrants have a stronger working desire and motivation than registered residents and they are the engine of urban development," Yin said.

Elderly migrant residents need more support, the report also argued.

In Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, more than 50 percent of elderly people are migrants accompanying their offspring who moved from outside to work in the city.

More than 10 percent of these aged migrants have no friends in their new residence and need more social support for their health care issues, the report said.

Many aged people are floating as their children asked them to take care of their grandchildren, explained Li Sheng, an associate professor at the Beijing University of Technology. To improve these aged citizens' life in retirement, the family and all of society shared a responsibility, Li said.

Newspaper headline: Beijing population shrinking


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