Urban and rural population of China 2008-2018

The graph shows the urban and rural population of China until 2018. That year, about 813 million people had lived in urban and 564 million in rural regions of China.

Urbanization in China – additional information

Urbanization refers to the process by which people move from rural to urban areas and how a society adapts to the population shift. It is usually seen as a driving force in economic growth, accompanied by industrialization, modernization and the spread of education. Urbanization levels tend to be higher in industrial countries, whereas the degree of urbanization in developing countries had remained relatively low.

As of 2018, China was the most populous country in the world. The country had reached a population of approximately 1.39 billion people in 2018. According to World Bank, a mere 19.6 percent of the Chinese population had been living in urban areas in 1980. Since then, China’s urban population has skyrocketed. By 2016, about 57 percent of the Chinese population was registered in urban areas. The population of Shanghai, the largest city in China and the world’s seventh largest city is projected to reach 20 million people by 2025.

China’s urban areas are characterized by a developing middle class. Per capita disposable income of Chinese urban households had more than doubled between 2008 and 2018. The emerging middle class is expected to become a significant driver for the continuing growth of the Chinese economy.

Urban and rural population of China from 2008 to 2018

Urban regionsRural regions
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Release date

October 2019



Survey time period

2008 to 2018

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Statistics on "Population in China"

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