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 of migrant population. Since 2010, the former National Population and Family Planning Commission conducted nationwide monitoring and 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 migratory 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 major output of the report is 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 2010 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 in 2012, and over 50 percent of the work age migrant population was 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 and they show clear preference for big cities. Seventy-five percent of them are about 20 years old, and more than 70 percent expressed hopes of settling in big cities among those willing to settle in cities.
The new generation is aiming for future development, instead of merely making money. An increasing number of them choose to have a family migration instead of only individuals. They put down roots and have a stable life and work. More than 60 percent haven’t changed jobs in three years. The migratory size, direction and demographic composition of the new generation reflect the new trends of the population mobility. Designing policies to meet their needs will help strengthen their survival and development.
II Family migration, instead of individual migration, has become a major form of population mobility, especially for the new generation.
The survey showed that more than 60 percent of married new generation migrant population is living together with their major family members. Most of them can’t bring majorfamily 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 steadily 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, working on the manufacturing and other five industries. Manufacturing has been the industry attracting most of the migrant population, but the industry saw a declining number of employees 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 compared with 2011, respectively.