Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 77 ›› Issue (12): 3041-3054.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202212007

• Population Geography • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatiotemporal patterns and determinants of interprovincial migration in China between 2000 and 2020

GU Hengyu1(), LAO Xin2, WEN Fenghua3(), ZHAO Zhihao2   

  1. 1. Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 999077, China
    2. School of Economics and Management, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China
    3. School of Government, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing 100081, China
  • Received:2021-12-09 Revised:2022-09-26 Online:2022-12-25 Published:2022-12-29
  • Contact: WEN Fenghua;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(72174219);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42101226);The Seventh National Population Census Project(RKPCZB06);China Merchants Foundation and China Population Welfare Foundation


Understanding the geographical pattern and driving factors of China's population migration in the first 20 years of the 21st century has become a pivotal issue in promoting the construction of the new-type urbanization and interaction development between regions during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025). Supported by the data of the sixth and seventh national population censuses and 2005 and 2015 national 1% population sample surveys, this paper aims to investigate the spatiotemporal evolution characteristics and influencing factors of interprovincial migration in China from 2000 to 2020. Relevant population geospatial analysis and the eigenvector spatial filtering Poisson pseudo-maximum likelihood estimation (ESF PPML) gravity model are employed. The following conclusions are drawn: (1) China's population migration patterns were generally stable from 2000 to 2020, where notable imbalance and network spillover effects were also detected. A large number of migrants from central, western and northeast parts of China tended to move to the eastern region. (2) The overall migration patterns between 2000 and 2020 revealed several changing characteristics. The degree of imbalance and spatial agglomeration of migration patterns gradually weakened. Yet, a north-south differentiation emerged. It is also found that the out-migration trend of the northeast region increased with the elaspe of time. (3) The ESF PPML model indicated that gravity factors (population scale, geographical distance), regional socio-economic factors (wage disparity, proportion of investment in science and technology and education, medical care), social network factors, environmental comfort (PM2.5 concentration) and living costs (proportion of housing price) drove the interprovincial migration pattern between 2000 and 2020. (4) The influence of regional economic differences on interprovincial migration reflected a weakening trend. The pattern of population migration gradually turned into the decision-making of diversified demands for the economy, public services and urban amenities, while the living cost factor represented by housing price had played a gradually significant part. The conclusion of this paper provides policy references for the construction of the new-type urbanization and coordinated development between regions during the 14th Five-Year Plan period in China.

Key words: interprovincial migration, 2000-2020, 2020 census data, spatiotemporal patterns, determinants