For the first time in history, more Chinese people now live in towns and cities than in rural villages. Reaching 51% in 2011, urbanisation in China is accelerating. Convinced that this holds the key to the country’s ongoing social and economic development, China’s leaders recently announced an urbanisation target of 70% (approximately 900 million people) by 2025. However, leaders including Premier Li Keqiang have emphasised that future urbanisation would be characterised not by an expansion of megacities (dushihua 都市花), but by growth in rural towns and small cities (chengzhenhua 城镇化). The Party is essentially seeking to take the cities to the rural populace rather than bring the rural populace to the cities. Following the policy announcement at the 18th Party Congress in November 2012, a group of national ministries has been tasked with developing guidelines for promoting the urbanisation of rural China.
By Kanhu Charan Pradhan (CPR) in EPW
The unexpected increase in the number of census towns (CT) in the last census has thrust them into the spotlight. The new CTs account for almost 30% of the urban growth in the last decade. The estimated contribution of migration is similar to that in previous intercensal periods. Further, the data indicates a dispersed pattern of in situ urbanisation, with the reluctance of state policy to recognise new statutory towns partly responsible for the growth of new CTs. A growing share of India’s urban population, living in these CTs, is being governed under the rural administrative framework, despite very different demographic and economic characteristics, which may affect their future growth.