News Life and Health11 Dec 2018

China:Population in Beijing declines

11 Dec 2018

The population of Beijing, the capital of China, fell in 2017 for the first time in two decades, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing official data.

According to the Beijing Statistics Bulletin 2017, the city's permanent resident population last year was 21.707m, 22,000 less than in 2016. In fact, the net growth of Beijing's permanent resident population, according to available data, has been declining since 2011.

Many factors are responsible for the negative growth. For instance, Beijing suffers some serious urban ills including traffic jams, sky-high housing prices and environmental pollution, said Ma Yankun, a researcher at the Institute of Industrial Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in an article in China Daily.

Another factor is Beijing's policy decision to shift its non-capital functions to Xiongan New Area in Hebei province as part of the coordinated development plan for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, which was elevated to a national strategy in 2014.

Beijing has also implemented strict population control measures such as increasing the threshold for getting a Beijing hukou (permanent household registration), shutting down wholesale markets, relocating industrial operations, introducing a lottery for car licences, and clamping down on unauthorised construction. These actions have effectively curbed the increase in the migrant population.

In addition, other Chinese cities are competing fiercely for talent. Many first-and second-tier cities in China including Shenzhen, Wuhan and Tianjin have introduced successful policies to attract "drifters" and new college graduates from Beijing. Although Beijing has also implemented policies to attract talent, its efforts focus mainly on high-end talent, as the capital aims to compete with top global cities such as New York and London.

The slowing economy, the aging population and the rural rejuvenation strategy have also contributed to the decline in the growth rate of Beijing's population.

But the decline in population growth could affect the capital's economic development. Statistics show that the number of Beijing's permanent residents aged between 15 years and 59 years began declining in 2014. Moreover, the decline in the number of new permanent residents could worsen Beijing's aging population problem. In 2017, according to official data, senior citizens in Beijing accounted for 16.5% of the overall permanent resident population. This proportion will keep growing unless the number of the elderly is offset by a growing population of youths.

Life insurance

Meanwhile, the city's share of the nation's total life insurance gross premiums has been declining, according to data from the CBIRC:


Life insurance

gross premiums (CNY m)

Share of national total

9 months to Sep 2018



Year to Dec 2017



9 months to Sep 2017



Year to Dec 2016



9 months to Sep 2016




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