BEIJING – Around 100 million Chinese live in extreme poverty, and roughly 275 million spend less than $2 a day. The overwhelming majority of China’s poor live in rural areas, and, for most, hope for a better life lies in the cities, where better-paying jobs are easier to find. Indeed, over the past three and a half decades, a staggering half-billion Chinese have already made the move, raising the urban share of the country’s population from less than 20% in 1980 to one-half today. By 2030, 70% of all Chinese are expected to live in cities.
China’s urbanization has undoubtedly supported the country’s impressive growth and rapid economic transformation. Its cities have provided cheap land and abundant labor, while local governments have been eager to attract investment and create jobs.