Research on the suitability of population distribution at the county level in China

  • Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Beijing 100101, China

Received date: 2013-09-03

  Revised date: 2014-01-23

  Online published: 2014-06-20

Supported by

Key Laboratory of Carrying Capacity Assessment for Resource and Environment, MLR; Department of Services and Management of Migrant Population, NHFPC


The relationship between population distribution and resources, environment, social and economic development has attracted much attention for a long time. This paper set up an index system and some models for the assessment of the coordination between population and resources, environment, social and economic development. Then it used the index system and models to evaluate this coordination quantitatively at the county level. Based on this, the suitability and restriction of population distribution at the county level was graded and classified respectively, and its spatial and temporal patterns as well as regional characteristics were also revealed quantitatively. The results showed that: (1) population distribution was generally coordinated with human settlements environment in more than 3/5 of counties in China in 2010, which meant that population distribution was highly consistent with the natural suitability of human settlements environment at the county level; (2) population growth was merely not restricted by water and land resources in about half of counties in China in 2010, indicating that population distribution had medium coordination with the suitability of water and land resources; (3) population distribution was generally coordinated with social and economic development in more than 3/5 of counties in China in 2010, suggesting that population distribution was highly consistent with social and economic development; (4) the suitability degree of population distribution was larger than 60 in about 3/5 of counties in China in 2010, which showed that the relationship between population, resources, environment and development was coordinated or relatively coordinated; (5) as for the coordination between population, resources, environment and development at the county level, the eastern region was the best, the central region ranked second and the western region was the worst; (6) the suitability degree of population distribution at the county level could be identified into four grades, including basic coordination, relative coordination, under coordination and urgent need for coordination and 10 restricted classes.

Cite this article

FENG Zhiming, YANG Yanzhao, YOU Zhen, ZHANG Jinghua . Research on the suitability of population distribution at the county level in China[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2014 , 69(6) : 723 -737 . DOI: 10.11821/dlxb201406001


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