China's Population Aging and New Urbanization

China's Population Aging and New Urbanization

Mingxing Chen (Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, China), Hua Zhang (Beijing Normal University, China) and Yinghua Gong (Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5646-6.ch018
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In recent years, fast demographic transition, urbanizationand socio-economic development in China draws attention of the world. The reproduction type of Chinese population has changed from “high rate of birth, high rate of death, and low rate of natural growth” to “low rate of birth, low rate of death, and low rate of natural growth”, which promotes the population transition, bringing the problems of aging of population. In China, the scale of aged population is large, and its developing speed is fast. Along with the increasing of aged population in China, the advantage of labor quantity in China is challenged. China regards new urbanization as the important work content of state in the future for a long time, providing a large opportunity for the study in the field of urbanization. For China, new urbanization plan is just a beginning. The sustainable development of Chinese population and urbanization has important meaning in the world.
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1. Introduction

Although the developing process of population fluctuated, the population scale has been increasing continually since the establishment of socialist China in 1949.Specifically speaking, the population in China increased from 542 million in 1949 to 1361 million in 2013, which increased 1.5 times during64 years. After the establishment of socialist China, medical and health conditions were improved, therefore, the rate of death reduced sharply, and made population increase in a high speed. However, after the implementation of Family Planning Policy in 1970s, the natural growth rate of population reduced fast. According to the 4th and 5th National Population Census data, the total fertility rate of Chinese fertile women was 2.31 in 1990, and reduced to 1.22 in 2000. It reflected that the total fertility rate in China reached the replacement level almost in the middle of 1990s, and growth type of population changed from substantive into inertia.

Up to the end of 2014, the population was 1368 million in the mainland of China, which occupied 18.97 percent of the world population and 32.85 percent of Asian population. Moreover, the amount of aged people who are over 65 years old in China is the largest all over the world, which reaches 138 million, occupying one fifth of the aged population in the world (Li et al., 2009). China is the only country in the world whose aged population exceeds 100 million.

Recently, the increasingly serious problem, aging of population, brings challenge to the sustainable development of economy and society (Kincannon et al., 2006; Caietal.,2014). Thus, what are the typical features of China’s aging of population? What measures should be taken in the future to solve the issues?

What is closely associated with population growth is the process of urbanization, which was a famous one in the world since Reform and Opening-up (a policy which has great effect on the development of China) in 1978, realizing an especially high-speed urbanization: the level of urbanization rose from 17.92% in 1978to 53.73% in 2013, which increased 1.02% on average per year (Figure 1). The social formation began to change from the agricultural and rural society over the thousands of years to the urban society. Some phenomenon marked the change. First, the growth speed of urban population accelerated, for the annual average newly-increased urban population has been over 20 million since 1995. Second, the quantity of cities increased in high speed. Third, the urban built-up regions expanded rapidly.

Figure 1.

China’s urbanization rate from 1978 to 2013


We can see that the high-speed urbanization promoted the development of economy and society in China, but in recent years, deviated from the track of sustainable development (Chen et al., 2013).

In March 2014, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and State Council issued “National New Urbanization Planning (2014-2020)” (CCPCC & CSC, 2014) (hereinafter referred to as “planning”), symbolizing the vital transition of development of urbanization in China, with the emphasis on urbanization type changing from “quantity growth” to “quality growth.” The “planning” also proposed the several concrete goals of development of China’s new urbanization (Table 1). The implementation of “planning” has drawn general attention, but there is not sufficient illustration of the formation of “planning.” What are the difficulties of new urbanization? What are the policies and measures? A series of problems need to be explored.

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