CKGSB Knowledge Authors

Urbanization in China

October 01, 2013

Over the last three decades, China has made it its mission to rapidly urbanize. And the year 2013 marked a major turning point for the country: for the first time in China’s history, there are more people living in cities than in the countryside.

The speed of urbanization in China is something that has never been seen before in human history. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), similar demographic transitions took 150 years to occur in Europe and 210 in Latin America. And in China, it has taken a mere 30 years to reach this level.

According to the UNDP’s China’s 2013 National Human Development Report (NHDR), in 2011, more people were living in cities in China than in the countryside. In contrast, six decades earlier a mere 10% lived in an urban setting. The same report goes on to say that China’s urban population will grow by an additional 310 million people to 70% of the total population by 2030 with over 1 billion people living in cities.

In this infographic, we take a look at China’s urbanization journey thus far, tracking the rise in the number of city slickers, as well as the growth of select urban infrastructure indicators, and roads and railways.

Click on the image to view the infographic.