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March 10, 2010

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Shanghai's population imbalance continues

SHANGHAI retained a negative population curve for people with registered residency for the 17th consecutive year in 2009.

The phenomenon referred to deaths outnumbering births, reflecting the city's huge elderly population, the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission said yesterday.

However, three districts - Minhang, Songjiang and Pudong - showed a positive growth rate since they are major locations for residential projects with a large number of newly arrived young and middle-aged people.

Shanghai's other 14 districts and Chongming County recorded negative growth.

The downtown districts of Jingan and Luwan and Chongming County had the most severe negative curve as many young people relocated, leading to an older average age in the areas.

Commission officials said the municipal government should budget public resources in line with the population distribution and age structure in urban planning and management.

"Shanghai is the city with the most serious aging problems (in the country) due to the large number of elderly people," said Wu Xiangyong, a commission official.

"While enhancing population research and services, we have instructed community-based population officials to inform couples eligible for a second child to not miss out on the chance."

Shanghai had 19.21 million inhabitants by the end of last year, including 13.79 million with registered residency.

For the permanent population in 2009 - registered residents and migrants staying in the city for more than six months - births outnumbered deaths by 0.27 percent.

Last year 92,300 people with registered residency were born, while 106,700 died.

Wu said population administration was a comprehensive task needing support and cooperation among various government departments.

Wu's commission has already began research into harmonious development between population and the economy, resources, the environment and overall society.

The commission said its plans for this year included perfecting family planning policies, enhancing services and management for migrants and improving population and family planning health care and services.

It also plans to oversee an improvement in the birth-death ratio to 0.25 percent and ensure that 99 percent of the registered population and 85 percent of the migrant population are covered by family planning laws.

The local government will amend the city's migrant population administration rules to better serve migrantsand tighten management through cooperation with officials in their hometowns.


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