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10.20.2016 19:03

China's Largest Cities Attracting Fewer Migrants, Study Shows

Major population centers still have more than half of those who moved from one province or region to another
By Li Rongde

(Beijing) — Fewer migrants are moving into big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, where living costs are high, but those cities still accommodate more than half of China's migrant population, according to a national report released Thursday.

Migrants who settled in several of the country's top cities last year accounted for 54.9% of the people who migrated from one province or region to another, down from 56.8% in 2013, the report released by National Health and Family Planning Commission showed.

By the end of 2015, China had 247 million migrants — people who have left rural areas for cities, or left small cities for large metropolises, seeking employment and a better life. The number of migrants is about 18% of the country's total population, according to the report.

The migrant population is also aging rapidly, with the average age rising from 27.9 years old in 2013 to 29.3 years old in 2015. Those over 60 accounted for 7.2% of the migrant population at the end of 2015, the report shows. The commission did not provide a figure for 2013.

Forty-three percent of the elderly migrants said that they moved to cities because they needed to take care of their grandchildren or needed to be taken care of by their families.

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Contact reporter Li Rongde (rongdeli@caixin.com); editor Ken Howe (kennethhowe@caixin.com)

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