La urbanización de China

BEIJING – Medida por el porcentaje de gente que vive en sus ciudades, la tasa de urbanización de China actualmente representa aproximadamente el 48%, según las estadísticas oficiales. En vista de que el porcentaje de residentes en ciudades era sólo del 18% hace apenas 30 años, es un progreso considerable.

Sin embargo, sigue siendo insatisfactorio, porque en la mayoría de los países en una etapa de desarrollo similar la urbanización fue más rápida que la industrialización. La urbanización de China se rezagó con respecto a su industrialización, que hoy está en alrededor del 70%, si se la mide por el porcentaje de fuerza de mano de obra cuyo ingreso es generado principalmente a partir de actividades no agrícolas.

Otra diferencia sorprendente entre China y otros países en desarrollo es que las ciudades chinas, grandes y pequeñas, carecen de toda señal de pobreza urbana significativa o de villas miseria. La gente suele atribuir este fenómeno al hukou de China, o sistema de registración de hogares, que separa a los privilegiados urbanos y a los pobres rurales desde el inicio de sus vidas. Pero, si bien el sistema hukou puede impedir que la gente rural disfrute de algunos beneficios y servicios públicos urbanos, como la educación pública, la atención sanitaria o el seguro de empleo, nunca impidió que los trabajadores rurales se desplazaran a las ciudades.

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