Recently, the “2020 Chinese Census Sub-County Data” compiled by the Office of the Leading Group for the Seventh National Census of the State Council released the population data of county-level units nationwide, and the urban population data of 683 cities (including municipalities directly under the Central Government, cities with separate planning status, provincial capitals, ordinary prefecture-level cities and county-level cities) were also made public. Looking through the county-by-county data of the previous census, this is the first time that urban population data has been included.
According to the number of permanent residents in urban areas, cities are divided into five categories and seven levels: cities with a permanent population of more than 10 million in urban areas are megacities, 5 million to 10 million are megacities, and type I cities with 3 million to 5 million and type II cities with 1 million to 3 million are called large cities.
According to the “County Data”, there are 105 large cities in the country, including 7 Type 1 megacities, 14 Type II megacities, 14 type I large cities and 70 type II large cities . From the perspective of provinces, except for Tibet, 30 provinces have large cities, and the number basically shows a decreasing trend from the eastern coast to the western inland. Among them, Jiangsu, Shandong and Guangdong ranked in the top three. What is more special is that the four county-level cities of Kunshan, Cixi, Yiwu and Jinjiang have “defeated” most of the prefecture-level cities in the country and joined the ranks of large cities.
Careful comparison indicates that the capital cities of Xinjiang, Qinghai, Ningxia, Gansu and Hainan in the west are all large cities, but their permanent population has not entered the top 105; In contrast, the four provinces of Henan, Jiangxi, Hunan, and Anhui in the central region have large population cities that are not “big cities”, resulting in the number of “big cities” being less than the number of cities with large populations.
Among the top 20 large cities, only 4 ordinary prefecture-level cities appeared, while 3 were from Guangdong. Among them, Dongguan and Foshan ranked 3rd and 4th with 91.3% and 89.9% of the urban population respectively, and the proportion of Zhuhai also reached 77.8%.
However, in the Yangtze River Delta region, there are some different trends.
For example, among the 7.7266 million people in Nantong, the urban population accounts for only about 20%. Although Ningbo is a planned city, less than 40% of the permanent population lives in urban areas, accounting for less than most provincial capitals and planned cities.
Judging from the existing list of megacities, the top three cities of Wuhan, Dongguan and Xi’an have all put forward the goal of impacting megacities. However, compared with the proportion of urban population, Wuhan and Xi’an both have about 20% of the “potential” space, in addition to natural growth, can further promote the population flow into the urban area from both inside and outside the city; The “ceiling” in Dongguan is more obvious, and it takes more effort to attract people from other places.
For Type I megacities, the closest to the upgraded megacities are Nanning, Shijiazhuang, Xiamen and Taiyuan. Among them, Xiamen’s foreign population accounts for more than 40%, while Nanning and Taiyuan are less than 10%.
It is worth noting that in 2020, a total of four county-level cities successfully “broke into” the ranks of large cities, namely Kunshan, Jiangsu, Yiwu, Cixi, Zhejiang, and Jinjiang, Fujian. It is a type II large city, with the highest urban population in Kunshan, and the urban population exceeds that of Quanzhou, which administers Jinjiang, and Jinhua, which administers Yiwu.
From the perspective of development momentum, their characteristic industries are very prominent, such as Yiwu’s small commodity trade and Jinjiang’s shoes and clothing. Not long ago, Cixi was listed on the “hot search” for a large number of exports of heaters to Europe – data show that Cixi has more than 100 heater manufacturers, and the export volume accounts for 30% of the country.