Pros and cons of limiting city’s population

Updated 2017-07-11 09:58:36 Shanghai Daily

Nearly half of local people surveyed are backing the Shanghai government's plan to limit the city's population to under 25 million by 2020.

According to the survey released by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Sociology, 48.5 percent of the respondents said setting the population bottom line will benefit the city's development, and 43.9 percent said it will help to enhance the population quality.

Other respondents, however, expressed concerns that the plan could bring negative effects, with 21.4 percent of the respondents saying limiting the population numbers might affect people's daily lives and 18.1 percent worried the policy will cause labor shortages.

Among benefits cited are "making Shanghai be on a par with international metropolitan cities" and "helping to improve the city's industrial structure," according to the survey.

"The number of supporters is beyond our expectations, especially among those interviewed who come from out of town," said Dr Zhang Huxiang, an expert with the institute, yesterday.

The institute collected a total of 2,079 questionnaires for the survey.

Those interviewed were local citizens, people from outside the city but who have residence permits, and those without such permits, Zhang said.

"Those opposed to the policy mainly worry about labor shortages on the service industries. For instance, there might be no food cart from which to buy breakfast," Zhang told Shanghai Daily.

The city government has set a target to keep the city's population under 25 million by 2020.

Furthermore, according to the city's master plan for 2040, which aims to develop an "excellent global city," the population will be kept at 25 million by 2040.

According to official figures, Shanghai had 24.3 million residents at the end of 2014, including registered locals and migrants who had been in the city for six months or more.

The 25 million target was calculated after assessing the city's resources and layout, according to Shanghai Statistics Bureau.

To achieve that goal, the city government has made changes to its population and hukou (residence) policy that will give out-of-towners permanent residence permits based on a credit system that will take into account their length of stay and contributions to the social security fund.

The government said the reform is expected to help the city control its registered population while attracting the talent Shanghai needs, along with improving its population structure.

The government has also taken several other measures, such as standardizing employment, demolishing illegal residential buildings and cracking down on group rental housing to control the migrant population.

The city's population has grown by more than 8 million since 2000. The government has said that if left unchecked, the total could rise to 26.5 million by the end of 2020.

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