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Population of big cities dropping slightly

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou | | Updated: 2023-05-15 15:12
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A night view of the Pearl River and Guangzhou's landmark Canton Tower in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. [Photo/Sipa]

The permanent resident population of Guangzhou, Guangdong province, exceeded 18.73 million as of the end of 2022, a slight reduction of around 76,500 from a year ago, according to the Guangzhou statistics bureau on its website on Saturday.

But the southern metropolis, the capital of Guangdong, remains the most populous city in the province.

Guangzhou's population represents 14.8 percent of Guangdong's population as of the end of last year. The province is the country's most populous, with around 127 million people.

Local officials attributed the slight drop in Guangzhou's permanent population to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Chinese New Year holidays, noting that many migrant workers left Guangzhou for the holiday before year's end.

Shenzhen also saw a slight reduction in its permanent resident population. It had a permanent resident population of more than 17.66 million as of the end of 2022, about 19,800 fewer than the figure reported a year ago.

Both Guangzhou and Shenzhen may have reached a turning point, in population growth, insiders have speculated. The cities, known for openness, have consistently grown for decades, according to a report in Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily.

Nor are they alone in their recent reductions. Shanghai municipality saw a permanent resident population reduction of 135,400 last year, while Beijing dropped 43,000 last year. The four first-tier cities saw a total population reduction of about 275,000 last year.

But insiders said they were not surprised to see the negative population growth in Beijing and Shanghai, as the two metropolises have been controlling their populations in recent years.

China, whose population is more than 1.4 billion, was reported to have shrunk by more than 850,000 in 2022, according to Southern Metropolis Daily.

It is the first time the world's most populous country has logged a population reduction since 1962, the news report said.

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