IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Provincial migration in China : Preliminary insights from the 2010 population census


  • Fischer, A.M.


In anticipation of the forthcoming release of the 2010 national population census of China, this paper compares the limited population data that have been released so far with annual data on natural population increase since the 2000 census in order to construct a rough but robust measure of net migration for each province in China between these two censuses. The results emphasize the extent of net out-migration from much of interior and western China as well as the degree to which rapid population growth in five coastal growth poles has been due to net in-migration. In total, 15 out of 31 provinces experienced net population outflows between the two censuses according to this measure, versus only six that experienced negative population growth, leaving nine provinces that registered positive population growth at the same time as net out-migration. Three exceptions to the western pattern of net outflows were the Tibet Autonomous Region, Xinjiang and Ningxia, which had the highest average natural population increase rates in China and also continued to experience moderate net in-migration. Overall, the sheer extent and speed of these flows, which have been mostly contained within national borders, sheds light on the enormity of the developmental challenges facing the government in this context, as well as the demographic pressures placed on the coastal growth poles absorbing most of the net flows. Moreover, there appears to be little association between rates of net migration and provincial rates of economic growth or even provincial levels of per capita GDP during this period, except in the broadest interregional sense that the three coastal province-level entities exhibiting the strongest rates of net in-migration – Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin – were by far the most affluent in China.

Suggested Citation

  • Fischer, A.M., 2012. "Provincial migration in China : Preliminary insights from the 2010 population census," ISS Working Papers - General Series 541, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
  • Handle: RePEc:ems:euriss:32290

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    China; census; natural population increase; population; provincial migration;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ems:euriss:32290. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (RePub). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.