Glimpsing China’s future urbanization from the geography of a floating population
The 'floating population' is a major source of social inequality in China and a direct target in its new urbanization plan. Although this population is spread very unevenly both within and between provinces, and the responsibility for their citizenship lies mostly with local authorities, their geographical distribution and representation in the total population below province level remain understudied. This paper fills the gap.
The county-level census data in 2010 were analyzed with the help of the cartogram technique. Results showed that the floating population was concentrated predominately in three key coastal regions and moderately in inland provincial capitals, with great variation both within and across key regions and provinces. Their share in the total population was also very high in the concentrations, closely followed by many counties along the coast and inland borders. Hence these ‘hot spots’ are very crucial for addressing social inequality and materializing the new urbanization plan in China.