Migration inject vitality into the economy of the cities in which it drives the growth of urban consumption and fiscal revenue growth. Liabour migrants in certain aspect reflect the regional economic development imbalance. From overserving and predicting the migration structure, age and trends, it can be inferred back the future development trend and potentials for a region or country.

Migration Overview

Migration injects vitality into the economy of cities where it drives the growth of urban consumption and fiscal revenue. Labour migrants in certain aspects reflect the regional economic development imbalance. From observing and predicting the migration structure, age and trends, the future development trend and potential for a region or country can be inferred.


Insight analysis and Assumptions


China’s total migration has grown by more than 10-fold in the last two decades (2000-2020), following the economic expansion.
The overall trends of migration can be summarised as: from rural to urban, from inland to coastal areas, from central western to eastern regions. The migration data show that the main flows are directed to a number of fastest growing regions, they are

  1. Yangtze River delta – Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang megalopolises
  2. Pearl River delta – Guangdong, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Macao great bay area
  3. Great Beijing – Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei region

These region-oriented migration trends also mapped the distribution of city clusters and economic development. Locations with a similar degree of economic development, geographic proximity to to each other, with similar policies, naturally knitted together and formed a city cluster (aka megalopolis). At the same time, city clusters can spur economic development for less developed area within the region. Megalopolises are able to provide large amounts and a variety of working opportunities, hence become the favourable destinations for migration inflows.
For Yangtze River delta region, immigrants and migrant workers are largely from Anhui, Henan, Sichuan, Jiangxi and Guizhou. For Guangdong province, the key import immigrant origins are neighbour provinces like Hunan, Guangxi and Jiangxi. Sichuan, Hubei and Henan are also important labour export provinces for Guangdong.
For more detail information, please refer to county level migration data by The Dataist, which includes flow and stock data by age, gender, geography split.





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Demographic data

The Dataist data service provides demographic data for China 31 provinces and 300 prefecture level cities. Data include population level and growth rates by gender, age-groups and urban/rural split. Data range covers period from year 2000 up to 2050.

Source and methodology

The Dataist demographic data for China are based on the China demographic surveys by the National Bureau of Statistics, the 5th survey in 2000, 6th survey in 2010 and 7th survey in 2020, and generated by the Dataist demographic forecast model. The model tracks the demographic natural growth (deaths and births), as well as migration trends, in order to forecast the population changes in the near future and longer-term period.

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