Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 72 ›› Issue (1): 148-160.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201701012

• Principle and Application of Geodetector • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial heterogeneity and its changes of population on the two sides of Hu Line

Jiaming LI1(), Dadao LU1,2, Chengdong XU1, Yang LI3, Mingxing CHEN1,2()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environment Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    4. China Center for Modernization Research, CAS, Beijing 100190, China
  • Received:2016-10-28 Revised:2016-01-08 Online:2017-01-20 Published:2017-01-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41671125, No.41530634, No.41230632, No.41601121;Programme of Bingwei Excellent Young Scientists of the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, No.2015RC202


Hu Line uncovers one of China's most important characteristics of population paper distribution: East is dense, while west is sparse. Different from most previous research, this paper examined the differentiation and changes of population distribution on both sides of Hu Line from a perspective of spatial stratified heterogeneity instead. Geodetector was employed based on the spatial database of China's census data of 1953, 1982, 1990, 2000 and 2010 to reconfirm spatial position of Hu Line and analyzed changes of spatial stratified heterogeneity of population between southeast and northwest sides of Hu Line in different periods. Changes of population distribution since the founding of New China were found and the reasons for these changes were discussed. Major findings include: (1) From the spatial stratified heterogeneity perspective, Hu Line could be improved and optimized, at least, in some periods. Although the ratio of total population on both sides of Hu Line has roughly been kept at 94:6 since 1953, spatial stratified heterogeneity of population between the two sides (the southeastern side: the northwestern side) increased when Hu Line moves to south slightly in 1953, 2000 and 2010, which means population distribution was more homogeneous within either southeastern or northwestern region and heterogeneity was more remarkable between the two regions. (2) Heterogeneity decreased gradually since the reform and opening up. We found characteristics of population distribution converged on the two sides, especially since the 1990s when convergence between the two sides became apparent. This finding is significantly different from the conclusion of "remain unchanged" from most literatures. The reasons why heterogeneity reduced were: pattern of population distribution on the southeastern side changed from relatively even distribution among cities before 1990 to agglomeration in a few huge cities after 2000, while the degree of spatial agglomeration of population decreased slightly after the reform on the northwestern side. These changes have been confirmed by the analysis from cumulative distribution function and Gini coefficient. (3) On the whole, the effect of economic factors on population distribution has become more and more important, while the effect of natural environment and institution reduced. Combined effect from economic development, natural environment and institution resulted in two opposite directions of changes of population spatial distribution on the two sides. It should be emphasized that although general effect of natural environment has decreased, some natural factors, such as Three Gradient Terrains, still have significantly influence on population distribution in China.

Key words: Hu-Line, population distribution, spatial heterogeneity, agglomeration, dispersion, Geodetector