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The Urbanization of China; Now Things Start to Get Interesting

by Christopher Kendalls on 17/01/12 at 8:59 pm

For the first time ever there are more people living in the city in China than there are living in the country.

For the first time in the history of China more people live in the city.  That doesn’t mean much here in America, because more people have lived in the city since the seventies.  But in China this is very significant; China has 1.3 billion people.  That means that more people live in the city, than live in America, in fact, that means that twice as many people live in the city, than live in America.

It is also significant because of the type of cities that people live in.  There are more than 120 areas with a minimum of one million people.  The largest metropolitan area is Guangzhou, this is a city of 12 million with a metro population of 41 million.  That places it at around 3 times the size of the metro area of New York.

The city with the largest core is Shanghai; at over 22 million it is not just the largest city in the Republic of China, but the largest city in the world.  Unlike other cities, the metro area and the city are almost one and the same, with a mere three million person difference in population.  The density of a city in China makes cities like New York and Chicago seem downright suburban by comparison.

Chinese cities are not without their problems, however.  Many of these cities are literally sinking into the ground, as the Earth is unable to sustain the sheer weight of these cities.  It is not uncommon for sinkholes to swallow up cars.  46 cities are sinking; sometimes the city can be too much of a good thing!

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