China's north west, central regions population decreases leading to regional economic divide

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Beijing [China], May 14 (ANI): The exodus of people from China's central and the north-eastern region has increased over the past decade which has created a greater challenge for the government to boost the economies of the two areas, according to the 2020 Chinese population census.

The census has revealed that the share of people living in eastern China, where the economy performs better than the rest of the country, grow to nearly 40 per cent of the total population in 2020.

The share of those living in central and northeast regions fell to 25.8 per cent and 7 per cent respectively. The proportion of citizens living in the west of the country also rose slightly, but partly due to higher birth rates, South China Morning Post reported.

Migration was the main cause of the surge in population in China's south and east. People have flocked to coastal provinces such as Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu in pursuit of better jobs and living conditions.

In the first decade of the century, the number of people living in the three north-eastern rust belt provinces - Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning - grew, but that trend reversed sharply over the following 10 years. The three provinces lost more than 30 per cent of their population compared to 2010.

Three other provinces that had negative population growth over the past decade were Gansu, a relatively poor central province that had been losing people since 2000, and the coal-rich central regions of Inner Mongolia and Shanxi.

"Due to the declines in population and fertility rate [for new births] in recent years, the economic development of the three northeastern provinces has been relatively slow. Its population is ageing rapidly and the burden of elderly care is quite heavy," said He Yafu, an independent Chinese demographer.

In Liaoning, which borders North Korea, a quarter of residents were older than 60 last year, the highest ratio among all 31 of China's provincial-level jurisdictions. Along with neighbouring Jilin province, it is one of two Chinese provinces that had fewer men than women in its population, showing the impact of migration for employment opportunities in the south. (ANI)

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