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January 19, 2011

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23m in Shanghai, census reveals

SOME 23 million people were registered living in Shanghai in last November's national census, a population expert said yesterday.

That number included 9 million migrant people, according to Ding Jinhong.

Ding warned that the large population has exceeded the city's capacity for healthy development.

Since the previous census in 2005, the city's population has grown by 660,000 each year. And over the past 10 years, the population density in Shanghai - which covers 6,300 square kilometers - has risen from 2,588 people per square kilometer in 2000 to 3,600 last year.

Ding, director of East China Normal University's School of Social Development, said that Shanghai is facing a huge challenge due to the influx of migrants, and the city government must put population management at the top of its agenda in the 12th five-year plan starting this year.

Of the 9 million migrant people recorded in November's census, Ding estimated that 2 million were in the city for a stay of less than six months. This group included people visiting family, receiving medical treatment or just spending time in the city.

The remaining 7 million have lived in Shanghai for more than six months.

So, in fact, the city has around 21 million residents, including 14 million with registered residency and 7 million migrant workers, based on the census, Ding said.

The city's population authorities haven't announced their official population figure for 2010. In 2009, according to city figures, Shanghai had 19.21 million residents, 328,600 more than 2008. Shanghai government's figure is based on various city records and may differ from national census totals.

By the end of 2009, some 5.42 million migrant people had stayed in the city for more than six months, representing 28.2 percent of local residents - up 0.8 percent on 2008, according to Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission.

Population growth concerns have led to heated discussion at this week's annual session of the Shanghai's legislative body and at the gathering of local lawmakers at Shanghai People's Congress.

"Shanghai is facing a continually growing population," Ding said. "Such a big population brings big challenges to housing, transport, health, education and other public service sectors."

"The government must develop measures to create a healthy population flow through restructuring the local economy," Ding added.

He proposed shrinking low-end industry, which attracts unqualified workers, and encouraging the high-end service sector, which requires better qualified employees.


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