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The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences says the country's urbanization rate has hit about 46 percent, and may accelerate in coming years.
From 1996 to 2005, over 20 million people became new urban residents every year. That figure declined slightly from 2006 to 2009, to about 15 million per year. It's estimated China's urban population was twice the size of the total population of the U.S. at the end of 2009. The report predicts China's urbanization rate will hit 52 percent in 2015 and grow to 65 percent in 2030.
But many problems accompany the population movement, including unbalanced development between urban and rural areas, widening income gaps, lack of spatial planning and over-expansion of large cities. There's also a striking contrast against the slow development of medium and small sized cities.