By the end of 2017, the residential population in Beijing totaled 21.71 million, 22,000 fewer than the previous year, accounting for a 0.1 percent decrease. This marks the first time since 2000 that the population of Beijing experienced negative growth, said Pang Jiangqian, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics.
The data, published on Jan. 19 by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics, shows that 18.77 million residents live in urban areas and 2.94 million people live in rural areas. Around 10.4 percent of the population are 14 years old or younger, 73.1 percent are between the age of 15 and 59, and 16.5 percent are over 60 years old.
Pang said that since the twelfth Five Year Plan (2011-2015), both the speed and quantity of the growth of population in Beijing had been dropping more and more rapidly. The first decline in residential population since 2000 was in line with this trend.
In addition, Pang explained that with the progress of urbanization and development in central and western China, the urban-rural gap and regional differences are dwindling. There have been backflows of population in some provinces, and people have become less eager to move to big cities. Meanwhile, the relocation of Beijing's non-capital functions and the promotion of high-end economic structure have led to drops of working population in labor-intensive industries, she said.
In 2017, among the residential population in Beijing, the natural increase amounted to 82,000 people, which was 7,000 less than that of 2016. The drop was ascribed to 5,000 less newborns and 2,000 more deaths in 2017.