Using statistics compiled by Kam Wing Chan of the University of Washington, The Economist examines the migration patterns of Chinese citizens from 1990 to 2005. According Chan’s findings, huge numbers of migrants have left provinces like Sichuan and Hunan for better economic opportunities in coastal provinces including Guangdong and Zhejiang, as well as China’s most populous city, Shanghai.
Though the map reveals a total gross migration of only 80 million, a full 230 million Chinese migrants live the majority of the year away from their hometowns and villages, and account for what the UN estimates to be nearly a third of all people in the world who have migrated within their own country.
From The Economist:
The number of rural Chinese working away from home is now almost 160m, or 12% of the country’s population. The Chinese government’s population-planning commission forecasts another 100m rural residents could move to cities by 2020. As migration patterns change, though (see article), expect to see rapid social and economic change across inland China.