Beijing’s floating population has reached just over 7 million. The total population grows by about 543,000 a year, people over 60 account for nearly 20 percent of the total population and Beijing still lacks a large number of people with talent in high-tech fields. According to a survey conducted by the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Beijing is facing a population problem of rapid growth and insufficient infrastructure and systems in place to cope with the increase.
On July 18, the Beijing Municipal People’s Political Consultative Standing Committee passed a proposal promoting coordinated development between Beijing’s population and environmental resources. The proposal provided solutions in the form of household registration reform, family planning policies and the residence permit system.
The survey showed that Beijing’s actual resident population reached 19.72 million by the end of 2009 and the floating population who lived in Beijing for more than half a year reached 7.26 million. Beijing’s population grew by 543,000 a year on average over the past four years and 70 percent of these people could be considered part of the floating population. The research team predicted that Beijing’s resident population will reach 25 million in 2020, which is well beyond the urban master planning figure that has the population at 18 million in 2020.
Meanwhile, with the rapid increases in Beijing’s population, structural problems have become increasingly apparent. Those in the household registration population that are over 60 years old accounted for 18.3 percent of the total population in 2009, and this number is expected to reach 29 percent by 2020. In addition, the population density is high in the core urban district, 16 times higher than in the development district and 64 times higher than in the ecological conservation development district.
The research team believes that the reason why Beijing’s population has expanded so rapidly is because of China’s urban and rural economic development imbalances, which have resulted in the population moving to developed districts. Conversely, the development of Beijing’s public services and management system has been relatively backward.
The survey showed that in terms of public services and management, the government departments did not cooperate among each other, and the services and management regulations and the cooperative services and management system are still imperfect. Improper management led to the formation and development of a secondary economic circle in Beijing in which the floating population survived and worked for their personal benefit. Moreover, there are deep structural problems in Beijing’s economic development, as industry is not especially strong when the high-end sector does not contain much in the way of high technology, and the economic growth, to a certain extent, still depends on large investments of labor and capital.
Establish a capital population committee as soon as possible
The CPPCC suggested that a capital population committee should be established as soon as possible to make significant population decisions and study population problems, as well as learn from the model of the capital’s planning committee. Considering the specific demands for controlling the capital’s population given down by the State Council, the CPPCC suggested the Beijing Municipal Party Committee and municipal government submit a special report to the State Council and apply for special control policies for the capital’s population.
Lu Jiehua, a sociology professor from Peking University who has studied the population problems for a long time, said that the suggestion to establish a capital population committee was made in the Eleventh Five-Year Plan but was called the population development committee. In the proposal they deleted the word “development” to centralize the committee’s function. Lu added that Beijing’s units and central government units currently located in Beijing can examine and approve policies relating to Beijing’s household registration system. Under the framework handed down by the capital’s population committee, Beijing’s units and other central units in Beijing can cooperate on and coordinate their examinations and approval of Beijing’s household registration issues.