Ecns wire

'Permanent populations' lower in S China manufacturing hubs

2023-05-11 Editor : Zhang Dongfang ECNS App Download

(ECNS) -- Official data on Monday shows that three manufacturing cities in Guangdong --  Shenzhen, Foshan, and Dongguan -- saw a negative growth in their permanent population in 2022.

According to the Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Statistics, Shenzhen, a top city for manufacturing in south China’s Guangdong, had 17.66 million permanent residents at the end of 2022, a drop of 19,800 from 2021, and a decline since the establishment of the city in 1979.

Foshan and Dongguan, another two cities with advanced manufacturing industries in Guangdong, also reported a decrease in residential population.

In 2022, the permanent population of Foshan was 9.5523 million, a decrease of 60,300, marking negative growth for the first time since the 21st century, data from the Foshan Municipal Bureau of Statistics showed.

The permanent population of Dongguan in 2022 was 10.437 million, a decrease of 99,800 from the previous year.

He Yafu, a demographer, pointed out that the permanent population reduction of the three strong manufacturing cities in 2022 is rare.

He attributed the reduction to the falling demand for employment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022, which led some migrant workers to return to their hometowns.

As for Shenzhen, He said the city tightened its household registration policies in 2021.

In May of that year, Shenzhen said that full-time undergraduate were the bottom line for academic talent there and then increased requirements for technical and skilledworkers.

Additionally, the limited supply of residential land and high housing prices in Shenzhen have raised  manufacturing cost, and some factories have moved out, He said.

Since October last year, sporadic outbreaks of COVID-19 have appeared in different areas of Guangdong Province, and then spread. As the Spring Festival drew near, many immigrant workers went back to their hometowns. 

However, mobile phone data shows that 84 percent of the inter-provincial floating population who left Guangdong in January 2023 have returned to the province in February.

And since February, Guangdong has attracted the most migrant population compared with other provinces in China.

He estimated that as the economy of Guangdong recovers, its permanent population is expected to resume positive growth this year.


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