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April 30, 2011

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Census puts Shanghai population at 23.02m

SHANGHAI has 23.02 million residents, including people with registered residency and migrant people staying in the city for over six months, according to the sixth national census held last November.

The city's residents made up 1.72 percent of the total population of China's mainland, compared to 1.32 percent in the last census in 2000, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday.

Shanghai has the second largest population, after Chongqing, among the four municipalities that also include Beijing and Tianjin.

A rising number of people are moving to China's east coastal areas, while the proportion of the population in midwest and northeast regions is dropping.

Experts in Shanghai said the city's rising share of the country's population was because of the increase in the number of migrant workers while the number of registered residents saw negative growth between 1993 and 2009.

"The rising number of migrant workers reflects the failure of the policies of diverting big manufacturing industries from the eastern coastal areas to the midwest, which was expected to attract a flowing back of some migrant workers," said Zuo Xuejin, a population economist at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

Concerning the rise in the migrant population, experts say Shanghai's social welfare policies should be changed to make the migrant population more integrated into the life here by allowing them to enjoy similar social welfare benefits as registered residents.

However, for a large city like Shanghai, the population can't rise without restriction, said Peng Xizhe, director of Fudan University's School of Social Development and Public Policy.

"Small and middle-sized cities can open their hukou, or registered residency, to take in migrant workers to the fullest extent while big cities should reform their hukou policies to a certain extent and receive migrant workers conditionally, concerning the sustainable capacity," Peng said.

According to the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission, Shanghai had 22.21 million residents by the end of last year - 14.12 million with registered residency and 8.29 million migrants who lived in the city for more than six months, as well as about 200,000 registered residents who lived in other parts of the country.

At the end of 2009, there were 5.42 million migrant people staying in the city for over six months.


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