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Experts call for policy update as urban population is on pace to overtake the rural

(Xinhua)

08:51, December 21, 2011

BEING, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese experts have called on the government to adopt new policies as the country's urban population is on pace to exceed its rural population, setting a precedent in China's thousands of years of agriculture-dominated history.

According to a blue book unveiled Monday by the China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), the country's urban population will outnumber the rural population by the end of 2011 at the current speed of urbanization.

The latest nationwide census that wrapped up in 2010 showed that the urban population accounts for 49.68 percent of the country's total.

It will not only mean a change in the percentage of the urban population, but also changes in people's lifestyles, employment, consumption and even values, said Li Peilin, director of the sociological research center of the CASS.

New policies, including employment measures and social insurance, are among experts' ideas for solving problems stemming from the large-scale rural-to-urban transition.

China is now facing great pressures regarding employment as a huge rural population moves into urban areas, said Cai Zhizhou, deputy director of the China Center for National Accounting and Economic Growth of Peking University.

The government needs to seek employment solutions for the new labor force, particularly migrant workers, Cai added.

Economic growth in the last three decades has pushed hundreds of millions of farmers into factories and onto construction sites in cities, and is the reason urbanization rose rapidly from about 18 percent in 1978 to around 50 percent today.

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