Migration in China
This article is about internal migration within the People's Republic of China. In 2011 a total of 252.78 million migrant workers (an increase of 4.4% compared to 2010) existed in China. Out of these, migrant workers who left their hometown and worked in other provinces accounted for 158.63 million (an increase of 3.4% compared to 2010) and migrant workers who worked within their home provinces reached 94.15 million (an increase of 5.9% compared to 2010).  Estimations are that Chinese cities will face an influx of another 243 million migrants by 2025, taking the urban population up to nearly 1 billion people. In the medium and large cities, about half the population will be migrants, which is almost three times the current level.
China's government influences the pattern of urbanization through the Hukou permanent residence registration system, land-sale policies, infrastructure investment and the incentives offered to local government officials. The other factors influencing migration of people from rural provincial areas to large cities are employment, education, business opportunities and higher standard of living.
China has restricted internal movement in various ways. Official efforts to limit free migration between villages and cities began as early as 1952 with a series of measures designed to prevent individuals without special permission from moving to cities to take advantage of the generally higher living standards there.
The party decreased migration to cities during the 1960s and 1970s for economic and political reasons. In the early stages of the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), large numbers of urban youths were "sent down" to the countryside for political and ideological reasons. Many relocated youths were eventually permitted to return to the cities, and by the mid-1980s most had done so.
The success of the agricultural reforms under Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s and early 1980s dramatically increased the food supply in China's cities, making it possible for more people to come in from rural areas and survive without food ration cards. Because of the increased food supply, the authorities temporarily relaxed the enforcement of migration restrictions. This relaxation, however, was short-lived, and in May 1984 new measures strengthened residence regulations and reinstated official control over internal migration. Additionally, in March 1986 a draft revision of the 1957 migration regulations was presented to the Standing Committee of the Sixth National People's Congress calling for stricter population control policies.
Nonetheless, migration from rural areas to urban centers continued. The problem of too-rapid urbanization was exacerbated by the agricultural responsibility system, which forced a reallocation of labor and left many agricultural workers unemployed.
The central government attempted to control movement through the household registration system and promote development of small cities and towns, but within this system many people were still able to migrate primarily for employment or educational purposes. Leaving their place of official registration for days, months, or even years, unemployed agricultural workers found jobs in construction, housekeeping, or commune-run shops or restaurants. This temporary mobility was permitted by authorities because it simultaneously absorbed a large amount of surplus rural labor, improved the economies of rural areas, and satisfied urban requirements for service and other workers. The most significant aspect of the temporary migration, however, was that it was viewed as a possible initial step toward the development of small, rural-oriented urban centers that could bring employment and urban amenities to rural areas.
Although the temporary migration into the cities was seen as beneficial, controlling it was a serious concern of the central government. An April 1985 survey showed that the "floating" or nonresident population in eight selected areas of Beijing was 662,000, or 12.5 percent of the total population. The survey also showed that people entered or left Beijing 880,000 times a day. In an effort to control this activity, neighborhood committees and work units (danwei) were required to comply with municipal regulations issued in January 1986. These regulations stipulated that communities and work units keep records on visitors, that those staying in Beijing for up to three days must be registered, and that those planning to stay longer must obtain temporary residence permits from local police stations.
Although some cities were crowded, other areas of China were underpopulated. For example, China had little success populating the frontier regions. As early as the 1950s, the government began to organize and fund migration for land reclamation, industrialization, and construction in the interior and frontier regions. Land reclamation was carried out by state farms located largely in Xinjiang Autonomous Region and Heilongjiang Province. Large numbers of migrants were sent to such outlying regions as Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province to work in factories and mines and to Xinjiang to develop agriculture and industry. In the late 1950s, and especially in the 1960s, during the Cultural Revolution, many city youths were sent to the frontier areas. Much of the resettled population returned home, however, because of insufficient government support, harsh climate, and a general inability to adjust to life in the outlying regions. China's regional population distribution was consequently as unbalanced in 1986 as it had been in 1953. Nevertheless, efforts were still underway in 1987 to encourage migration to the frontier regions.
Causes of Migration 
There are many factors influencing people to move or relocate to another region within China. The primary reasons include:
- Standard of Living
- Economic or Industrial Policies
- Special Economic Zones / Sub Provincial Cities
- political fears
Cost and Benefits of Migration 
- Increased supply of labour in urban areas
- Increased income for the poor
- Poverty reduction
- Access to education opportunities for migrant workers
- Access to diverse labour market for migrant workers
- Migration can be a fun trip with many dangers along the way, like an adventure.
- Increased income remittance of Migrants to their families in rural regions.
- Migrant workers access to higher standards of living.
- Increase of new knowledge and skills for migrants
- Migrant workers increase the local population creating demand for services
- Increased environmental degradation and pollution
- Travelling costs a lot of money when compared to Chinese average income.
- Overpopulation in municipalities and sub provincial cities
- Development of migrant suburbs with no access to local health care, education, workplace protection
- Depopulation of rural regions as breadwinners go into the prosperous region
- Increased crime and safety issues
- Increased demand for resources such as water, electricity and sanitation
Recent history 
Of major concern in China is its growing "floating population" (Chinese: 流动人口 Hanyu Pinyin: liúdòng rénkǒu), a large number of people moving from the countryside to the city, from underdeveloped economic areas to developed areas, and from the central and western regions to the eastern coastal region, as a result of fast-paced reform-era economic development and modern agricultural practices that have reduced the need for a large agricultural labor force.
As early as 1994, it was estimated that China had a surplus of approximately 200 million agricultural workers, and the number was expected to increase to 300 million in the early 21st century and to expand even further into the long-term future.
It was reported in 2005 that the floating population had increased from 70 million in 1993 to 140 million in 2003, thus exceeding 10 percent of the national population and accounting for 30 percent of all rural laborers.
According to the 2000 national census, population flow inside a province accounted for 65 percent of the total while that crossing provincial boundaries accounted for 35 percent. Young and middle-aged people account for the vast majority of this floating population; those between 15 and 35 years of age account for more than 70 percent.
In 2006 it was estimated that China was experiencing a –0.39 per 1,000 population net migration rate.
Sources and destinations 
The Fifth National Population Census of the People's Republic of China in 2000 counted 42.4 million people living outside of their home provinces (i.e., outside of the province where they were legally domiciled). These would include e.g. migrant workers, students on campuses away from home, but not the military (who, generally, are counted separately from the provinces' and municipalities' populations). The largest migrant population was found in Guangdong (15.0 mln). The rest of China's southeastern seaboard attracted plenty of migrants as well (Shanghai (3.1 mln), Jiangsu (2.5 mln), Zhejiang (2.0 mln), Fujian (2.1 mln)); Beijing had 2.5 million. The coastal Liaoning and Shandong, as well as the inland Yunnan and Xinjiang had over a million migrants each. 
Much of the interprovincial migration was toward the neighboring wealthier provinces or municipalities, if there was one. E.g., over 90% of the Guangxi migrants went to the nearby Guangdong, while over 60% of Hebei migrants went to the Beijing and Tianjin municipalities (which both are surrounded by Hebei's territory). On the other hand, among the Hubei migrants about one half went to Guangdong, and he rest mostly to various other coastal destinations, from Beijing to Fujian.
Foreign and ethnic groups 
Other migration issues include the more than 2,000 Tibetans who cross into Nepal annually, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The government tries to prevent this out-migration from occurring and has pressured Nepalese authorities to repatriate illegal border-crossing Tibetans.
Another activity viewed as illegal is the influx of North Koreans into northeastern China. Some 1,850 North Koreans fled their country in 2004, but China views them as illegal economic migrants rather than refugees and sends many of them back. Some of those who succeed in reaching sanctuary in foreign diplomatic compounds or international schools have been allowed by China to depart for South Korea.
Africans in Guangzhou 
Africans in Guangzhou are a sizeable community of black Africans primarily concentrated in Yuexiu District and Baiyun District in Guangzhou, China. Since the country's late 1990s economic boom, thousands of African traders and businesspeople predominantly from West Africa migrated to the city of Guangzhou, creating an "Africatown" in the middle of the southern Chinese metropolis of approximately 10 km2. The primarily male population often set up local businesses and also engage in international trade. As a relatively new phenomenon in China, the influx of Africans to Guangzhou has been met with mixed reactions from the local population, and opened new discussions on racism, xenophobia, and immigration, previously unseen in modern China
According to official statistics of the PRC government, the number of Africans in Guangzhou has increased by 30-40% each year, and now form the largest black community in Asia. However, as many have overstayed their visas, official figures may be understated. Estimates vary on the number of Africans living in Guangzhou: from 20,000 to over 200,000. Huang Shiding of the Guangzhou Institute of Social Sciences estimates the number of permanent residents of foreign nationality (six months and above) to be around 50,000, of which some 20,000 are of African origin.
See also 
- Demographics of the People's Republic of China
- Economy of the People's Republic of China
- Hukou system
- Metropolitan regions of China
- Urbanization in China
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