Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 75 ›› Issue (10): 2206-2223.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202010012

• Agriculture and Rural Geography • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The spatial distribution characteristics and influencing factors of Chinese villages

ZHOU Yang1,2,3(), HUANG Han1,2,3, LIU Yansui1,2,3()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Center for Assessment and Research on Targeted Poverty Alleviation, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2020-01-11 Revised:2020-07-20 Online:2020-10-25 Published:2020-12-25
  • Contact: LIU Yansui;
  • Supported by:
    Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA23070300);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41931293);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41871183);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41601172)


Village is the object of rural governance and revitalization. It is of great scientific value to carry out the research on the spatial distribution characteristics and influencing factors for comprehensively promoting the implementation of the rural revitalization strategy. This study systematically integrated the multi-source data such as the longitude and latitude coordinates of the village, geo-environment, traffic conditions and socio-economic level, and comprehensively applied spatial analysis, kernel density estimation and Ripley's K-function to describe the spatial distribution characteristics of Chinese villages and identify the influencing factors of village spatial differentiation. The results demonstrated that the evolution of villages follows the life cycle laws of formation, development, stability, decline, and revitalization, which is affected by the natural geographical environment and human, social, and economic factors. The speed, intensity, direction, and outcome of village evolution vary across regions over time. Further analysis results showed that the distribution density of villages in China is 0.353 per square kilometer. Overall, the number of villages in China is larger in the south than in the north, and larger in the east than in the west, and characterized by agglomeration in the southeast and dispersion in the northwest. Villages are most densely distributed in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and the Huaihe River Basin. With Hu's line as the boundary, the density of villages in the southeast is higher than that in the northwest. The Moran indexes of the kernel density of villages on the scales of province, county and township are 0.580, 0.861 and 0.910, respectively, showing obvious spatial aggregation characteristics. The spatial distribution of villages in each province presents an inverted U-shaped pattern, and the difference is obvious between provinces. The distribution pattern of Chinese villages is the result of the interactive coupling of geographical environment, location conditions, and social and economic factors. The spatial distribution of Chinese villages is relatively concentrated under the conditions of a slope of 6°-8°, an altitude of less than 200 m, rainfall of 1100-1200 mm, average annual temperature of 15-19 ℃, and anthropogenic soil and cultivated vegetation. The spatial distribution of villages is clustered along roads and rivers. The density of villages in the buffer zone of 100-300 m around roads and rivers is the largest, and gradually decreases as the buffer distance increases. Under the background of comprehensively promoting the strategy of rural revitalization, it is urgent to systematically analyze the causes and dynamic mechanism of rural recession, identify the geographical distribution and types of declining villages, and explore the feasible ways and regional models of rural revitalization.

Key words: village, spatial distribution, influencing factors, rural regional system, rural revitalization, rural geography