Dongguan, one of the major production centers in Guangdong province, was ranked the emptiest city on the mainland during the Spring Festival holidays, which ended on Thursday.
Nearly 70 percent of the city's residents left Dongguan - known as a migrant city - to spend the Lunar New Year with family members, according to 360 Big Data Center.
Located in the middle of the prosperous Pearl River Delta, Dongguan joined three other Guangdong metropolises in the top five.
Foshan, Guangzhou and Shenzhen had more than 60 percent of their residents leave for the holidays.
Changsha, capital of Hunan province, was the fifth-emptiest city. The central Chinese city was followed by Shanghai, Suzhou in Jiangsu province, Beijing, Wuhan in Hubei province, and Zhengzhou in Henan province.
All first-tier cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen saw more than 50 percent of their residents leave for Spring Festival.
"The parks have had few visitors since the beginning of the Lunar New Year," said Xie Shanshan, a Guangzhou housewife. "And the streets are not as busy as usual."
"It's hard to get used to the park being so quiet," said Xie, who goes to the park near her home to exercise every morning.
First-tier cities, which offer myriad employment opportunities and good salaries, advanced facilities, improved public services as well as rich educational and medical resources, are still the major destinations for large numbers of migrant workers from around the country.
Guangdong, which has a population of more than 100 million, has more than 22 million migrant workers.
On the other side of the equation, Jiangxi province has the largest percentage of people working elsewhere.
As much as 7.25 percent of the residents in Jiangxi have left their homes, followed by Hunan (7.16 percent), Henan (6.3 percent), Anhui (6.27 percent) and Shandong (6.05 percent) provinces.
Guangzhou and Shenzhen have become the major destinations for migrant workers from the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Hunan, Jiangxi, Sichuan and Hubei provinces.
Beijing mainly attracts workers from Shandong and Hebei provinces and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Migrant workers from Shandong account for more than 20 percent of the transient population in the capital.
Shanghai mainly attracts workers from Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces in the Yangtze River Delta. Migrant workers from the three provinces represent more than 50 percent of the city's total.