Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2005, Vol. 60 ›› Issue (4): 607-614.doi: 10.11821/xb200504009

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Analysis of the Trends of Urbanization Levels in Chinese Provinces since 1982

SHEN Jianfa   

  1. Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong
  • Received:2005-01-21 Revised:2005-03-21 Online:2005-07-25 Published:2005-07-25
  • Supported by:

    Direct Grant of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Project, No.2020764


The problem of inconsistent urban population data is very serious and there is no systematic urbanization data for provincial regions in China. Such situation is caused, partly by frequent changes in the definition of urban population in population censuses and partly by changes in the criteria for the designation of cities and towns. Population census is an important source of national and provincial urban population data. But such data are not consistent due to changes in the definition of urban population in various censuses. These urban population data must be adjusted. This paper discusses the new urbanization process in the reform period first. Then the changing definitions of urban population in various censuses are clarified. A regional approach based on the concept of dual-track urbanization for estimating national and regional urban population data is proposed. Using adjusted urban population data from the 1982 and 2000 population censuses as the benchmark, an annual data series of provincial levels of urbanization is estimated for the period 1982-2000. Based on the estimation results, the major trends of urbanization in Chinese provinces are identified. Some suggestions are proposed for the statistical development of urban population in the future.

Key words: urban population estimation, level of urbanization, dual-track urbanization, population census, China