21 Chinese Cities Host to More than One Million Permanent Residents without Household Registration


Over twenty cities in China are host to permanent resident populations without household registration that are in excess of one million.

A report from Yicai indicates that at least 21 Chinese cities have permanent resident populations lacking household registration of over one million, most of which are concentrated in the Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze River Delta.

Shanghai is host to the largest such population, with municipal data indicating that its permanent population was 24.2378 million in 2018, comprised of 14.4757 million residents with household registration and 9.761 million permanent residents from other parts of the country.

Shenzhen comes in second, with official data indicating that its permanent resident population without household registration was 8.1811 million in 2017, comprising 65.3% of the city’s total population.

Beijing is third, with a permanent resident population of immigrants from elsewhere that stood at 7.646 million in 2018, accounting for 35.5% of all of the city’s permanent residents.

The manufacturing hub of Dongguan in Guangdong province came in fourth place, with a permanent resident population of 8.3922 million at the end of 2018, of whom only 2.3159 million had household registration.

Guangzhou is host to China’s fourth largest population of permanent residents lacking household registration, at 5.6275 million in total.

Consequently the population of permanent residents lacking household registration in the key first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen is estimated to be around 31.21 million in total.


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