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Housing Rural Migrants in China’s Urbanizing Villages

Yan Song, July 1, 2007

The annual rate of urbanization in China has increased rapidly from 17.9 percent in 1978 to 39.1 percent in 2002, accompanied by rural-to-urban migration on a massive scale. More than 70 million rural migrants were working and living in urban areas at the end of 2000.

This influx of population has created a unique urban form—villages within cities, also referred to as “urbanizing villages” or ChengZhongCun in Chinese. For example, in the city of Shenzhen, with an official population of around 9 million in 2000, approximately 2.15 million inhabitants lived in 241 urbanizing villages with a land area of almost 44 square kilometers. In the city of Guangzhou, with a population of more than 8 million, there were 277 urbanizing villages with approximately one million inhabitants in 2000.