Zhejiang initiatives driving biggest population increase
East China's Zhejiang province saw its permanent resident population increase by 370,000 in 2022, the biggest growth among all the provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions nationwide, according to the Zhejiang Provincial Bureau of Statistics.
In 2022, the province's permanent resident population soared to 65.77 million, compared with 65.4 million at the end of 2021.
Su Jian, a professor at the School of Economics at Peking University, said Zhejiang's economy, especially the private sector, has been developing relatively quickly for a lengthy period of time, encouraging a large number of laborers to move to the province.
In 2022, Zhejiang also recorded 412,000 births.
The province has continued to see a rise in the speed and scale of its population inflow thanks to supportive government measures introduced in recent years.
The government of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang, recently announced it will further relax rules for household registration, or hukou, to attract a wider range of talent and boost the development of the digital economy.
The notice lowered the requirements on education, age and employment, which means more people will have the opportunity to apply for residency. This includes full-time college graduates under age 35 who work in Hangzhou as well as postgraduates under age 45.
In terms of registered permanent resident populations, South China's Guangdong province with 126.56 million, East China's Shandong province with 101.62 million, and Central China's Henan provinces with 98.72 million, were the top three in 2022.
According to the Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Statistics, there were 1.052 million babies born in Guangdong last year, with the birthrate reaching 0.83 percent, higher than the national average over the same period.
Su said the two reasons for Guangdong's relatively high birthrate were its large population base and women's stronger desire to have children.
Guangdong is the only mainland province that has had more than 1 million births for three consecutive years, official statistics showed.
Despite a slight decline in the national population last year, China's economic powerhouses have witnessed a steady increase in their permanent populations in recent years.
The top 10 provinces in terms of total GDP in 2022 included Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong, Zhejiang, Henan, Sichuan, Hubei, Hunan and Anhui, which were also listed in the top 10 in terms of their total permanent resident populations.
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