A recent surge in China’s economy has ushered in one of the largest migrations in world history. The annual increase in migrant workers in Chinese cities is 10 million, leading to the current total population of 270 million total migrant workers. In striving to become a developed nation, China’s urbanization problems are of global concern.
This paper reveals the complicated state of China’s urbanization. It explains the origins and problems with the nation’s current strategies. In doing so, it reviews documents and records published by the government as well as concerns raised by critics in China, many only published in Chinese. In addition to an overview of policies applied to cities, the case study of Guangdong (Canton) demonstrates current experimental strategies.
If China’s migrant workers and their immediate family members are officially assimilated into cities, the urbanization rate of China would surge to 87%, achieving target levels of urbanization. However, this 34% rise in urban population would overwhelm the already scarce resources and services in cities.