SCIENTIA GEOGRAPHICA SINICA ›› 2021, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (4): 553-561.doi: 10.13249/j.cnki.sgs.2021.04.001

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Estimating and Interpreting China’s Hukou Migration Under the Strategy of New-type Urbanization

Liu Tao(), Liu Jiajie, Cao Guangzhong()   

  1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences/Center for Urban Future Research, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2019-12-18 Revised:2020-02-25 Online:2021-04-10 Published:2021-06-04
  • Contact: Cao Guangzhong;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41801146);Ministry of Education Fund for Humanities and Social Sciences(18YJC840022);UKRI’s Global Challenge Research Fund(ES/P011055/1)


Migration in China is a process that involves not only floating to destinations but also settling down there by gaining local Hukou. The second step, in particular, has become the primary concern of the recent new-type urbanization. But, important as it is, our knowledge about this particular step is severely restricted due largely to data limitation, and this article tries to overcome the restriction. In the article, we first estimate the number of Hukou migration at the 277 prefecture level cities (not including Sanya, Danzhou, Haidong, Hulunbuir, Bayannur, Wuhu, Bengbu, Zhengzhou, Pingdingshan, Nanyang, Huangshi and cities of Xinjiang, Xizang, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan) between 2011 and 2017; We then compare its spatiotemporal patterns with those of floating population over the period, and we further evaluate the impact of New-type Urbanization Plan on its patterns. Results show that Hukou migration has become increasingly active in recent years, and its spatial patterns are highly similar to those of the floating population. Popular destinations are primarily situated in the three coastal regions, whereas the geographic distribution of origin is much less clustered, with the highest out-Hukou-migration being found in the middle Yangtze River and Northeast China. Mega-cities are where the local Hukou is most pursed, first-tier cities maintain a persistent attraction for Hukou migration; and the emerging second-tier cities have seen a rapid increase in the intake of this migration. Small and median-sized cities, by contrast, are very uncompetitive, despite that all the restrictions on Hukou transfer have been removed there. These cities have even seen an increasing out-migration of their Hukou-holders. The results revealed here are the basis on which our advice for policy makers are made. The advice is not simply on the issue of Hukou reforms, but also touches the topics of balanced regional development and reduced urban inequality. The results also highlight the exciting research prospect of both Hukou migration and new-type urbanization, a prospect that requires both creative imaginations and vigorous investigations of China’s prospect of both Hukou migration and new-type urbanization, a prospect that requires both creative imaginations and vigorous investigations of China’s migration.

Key words: population migration, Hukou migration, new-type urbanization, settlement policy, policy assessment

CLC Number: 

  • K901.3