400 million migrant workers to acquire urban citizenship in next 20 years

16:37, September 25, 2010      

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In the next 20 years, 400 million migrant rural workers in China will acquire urban citizenship, which will cost about 100,000 yuan per person, meaning that 2 trillion yuan is needed to help these workers receive urban citizenship every year, according to a recent report.

The "China Development Report 2010" was recently released by the China Development Research Foundation, a non-profit think tank founded by the Development Research Center of China's State Council.

According to the report, the 2 trillion yuan will be shared by the central government, local authorities and the labor market.

The report said China’s urbanization rate saw one of the highest growth rates in the world over the past 30 years when it reached 47 percent in 2009. Hundreds of millions of laborers have moved from rural areas to cities, marking an unprecedented large-scale population movement in both China and world history.

Although 145 million migrant workers have worked and lived in cities for a relatively long time, they do not enjoy the same treatment as registered urban residents in terms of payment, children’s education, social security, housing and in many other aspects. In fact, they have not yet been integrated into urban society.

The report also said that children of rural workers who started working in cities in the 1980s and 1990s have become the main component of the migrant rural workforce. More and more migrant rural workers produce quality-oriented products instead of quantity-oriented products and the better-educated new generation of rural workers will make Chinese products more competitive in the world.

On the other hand, China's rural population is aging fast and the labor productivity of Chinese farms is growing slower than the shift of laborers from agriculture to industry. Therefore, when asked about the potential risks of China's urbanization, Cai Fang, of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that now is the best time to increase mechanization in agriculture and build a modern agricultural system.

By Li Mu, People's Daily Online


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