The Chinese central government has unveiled a new plan for driving the ongoing urbanisation of China’s vast rural population of around 400 million people.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) recently issued the “2022 New Model Urbanisation and Urban-Rural Integrated Development Key Missions” (2022年新型城镇化和城乡融合发展重点任务).
The Missions calls for “making the urbanization of the rural migrant population the key mission of new model urbanization,” with “key targeting of deeper reforms of the household registration system for those people still without household registration; improvements to basic public services for permanent residents, and increasing the level of urban integration of rural migrant populations.”
“[We] must optimise urban development concepts, create cities that are suitable for living and working in, and create spaces where the people can lead a high-quality life,” said an NDRC spokesperson.
As of the end of 2021 China’s permanent urban population stood at over 900 million, for a permanent urban population rate of 64.72%. The percentage of people in China who are urbanised with official household registrations stood at 46.7%, for an increase of 1.3 percentage points compared to the previous year.
2021 saw a relaxation of the household registration system, with the cancellation of restrictions on registrations for permanent residents in cities with populations of under 3 million, and further loosening of requirements for cities with populations above 3 million.
In 2021 the urban-rural income ratio in China fell to 2.50 from 2.56 the previous year.
The Missions just released by NDRC outline a total of four key missions with regard to the urbanization of incoming rural populations, including:
- Smoothing out channels for whole rural families to move to cities.
- Driving equalisation of basic public services in the cities, and ensuring that the children of rural workers receive equal mandatory education.
- Strengthening employment services and technical training for rural workers, and providing subsidised training to 6 million people.
- Further expanding support from the central government in the form of urbanization incentive funds, with the goal of supporting the settlement of rural populations in multiple cities.
The Missions also call for making the county-level administrative unit the basic unit for advancing “urban-rural integrated development,” and driving the expansion of urban infrastructure and public services into rural areas.