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《Acta Geographica Sinica》 2011-12
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Rising Role of Inland Regions in China's Urbanization in the 21st Century: The New Trend and Its Explanation

CAO Guangzhong 1 ;LIU Tao 2 (1.College of urban and environmental sciences,Peking University,Beijing 100871,China; 2.Department of Geography,The University of Hong Kong,Hong Kong,China)  
Much global attention has been paid to China's stable and rapid economic growth and urbanization in recent 30 years of the reform and opening-up.Using a decomposition method,this paper extracts the contribution of each province from the national urbanization, and then divides it into growth effect and migration effect,which respectively represent performances of cities in the province in absorbing rural residents from villages in the province per se,as well as migrants from other provinces.Major findings are outlined as follows.(1)The coast-inland gap had been characterized by spatial disparity of China's urbanization for a long time until the new century.The east coastal provinces,with the most remarkable urban expansion and urban population growth,have contributed 49%of the national urbanization due to special policies and location advantages.Although the urbanization there was going at a slower pace,its contribution to China's urbanization was still the greatest,with a peak of more than 60%in the late 1990s.(2)In the early 21st century,especially since 2005,however,inland regions have played a rising role in the national urbanization.As a consequence both to high speed of local urbanization and to the reduction of emigration,contributions of central and western China to the national urbanization have increased rapidly.In the recent period of 2005-2008,for instance,either of them contributed about 30%of the total urbanization.Although their gap to eastern provinces still exists,it comes mostly from inter-regional migration,or the migration effects.The growth effects of eastern,central,and western China are all about 30%.(3)Based on the regression results,three new regional development policies,known as Western Development, Revitalization of Old Industrial Bases in Northeast China,and Rising of Central China,have promoted the national urbanization by some 0.06 percentage point every year,which is about 8.7%of the total contribution of inland provinces,although there are not significant impacts on the mechanism of China's regional urbanization.(4)The effect of regional development policies is derived not only from the direct investment from governments but also from the subsequent domestic and foreign investment.The large scale construction of infrastructure driven by these investments has narrowed the coast-inland gap under policy and location conditions.Consequently,return migration and industrial transfer from coastal provinces to inland regions have ultimately resulted in the abovementioned rising role of inland regions in China's urbanization in the 21st century.
【Fund】: 国家自然科学基金项目(40871075)~~
【CateGory Index】: F299.2;F224
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