Large-scale population mobility is a major aspect of China’s industrialization and urbanization. In 2012, the migrant population reached 236 million, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, meaning one out of six people falls into the category. Since 2010, the National Population and Family Planning Commission conducted a nationwide survey on the migrant population, and combined data analysis by experts to release the annual migrant population development report.
The 2013 report was based on survey data from recent years, and analyzed the migrant population migration trend and the development characteristics of the migrant population of the new generation. It proposed to focus on the new generation to push for population urbanization. The report also analyzed population mobility and urbanization, as well as the employment and income, social integration and fertility of the migrant population. The results are as follows:
I The new generation has become the majority of the migrant population, and an intergenerational shift is going on.
The sixth population census in 2012 showed that the new generation reached 118 million, accounting for more than 50 percent of the whole migrant population. The national survey revealed that the average age of the migrant population is 28, which means over 50 percent of the migrant population were born after 1980. Compared with previous generations, the new generation is getting younger and their workplaces are farther away from home. There are more reasons behind their choice to work away from home. Seventy-five percent are about 20 years old, and more than 70 percent expressed hopes of settling in big cities.
The new generation is aiming for future development, instead of merely making money. They put down roots and have a stable life and work. More than 60 percent haven’t changed jobs in three years. The new generation reflects the development of the population mobility in population flow volume, flow direction and structure. Meeting their needs and designing policies for them will help strengthen their survival and development.
II Family migration has become a major form of population mobility, which is significant among the migrant population of the new generation.
The survey showed that more than 60 percent of married people in the new generation are living together with family members. Most of them can’t bring all family members together at once, but it’s fairly common for 70 percent of them to have their spouse move in first, then their children. This family migration more easily makes for a sense of belonging and happiness for the migrant population. Formulating policies should take into account the family migration trend and meet family needs, instead of individual ones.
III The migrant population is enjoying a rising income
A survey by the commission in early May 2013 showed that the average monthly income of the migrant population was 3,287.8 yuan in April 2013, up 4.9 percent year-on-year. Most of the migrant population converged in private sectors or engaged in individual business, especially the manufacturing industry. But the industry saw a declining migrant population in the last two recent years. The latest 2013 data revealed that 33.3 percent was employed in the manufacturing sector, down 4.1 percentage points compared with 2011. However, the tertiary industry witnessed a rising number of employees, with 20.1 percent in wholesale and retail in 2013, and 11.3 percent in hotel and dining industries, up 2 and 1.4 percentage points, respectively.