Monday, November 26, 2012
After I wrote last week's big post on the size of the construction industry in China, it occurred to me that one constraint that China might face on its urbanization process could be somewhat novel. This is that the sheer speed of China's urbanization is unprecedented and risks running out of people young enough to be willing to migrate at a significantly earlier stage than other countries that have engaged in this kind of catch-up growth (which spread their growth out over more generations of humans).
Thus, it's desirable to have more granular data on the urbanization process than the decadal census data I showed last time. Poking about the national statistics site, I found annual data on the number of jobs that are urban vs rural which seems a somewhat helpful proxy. The data only go through 2010; that isn't ideal but it's what we have.
The plot above shows the fraction of all jobs that are urban (red, left scale), and the absolute increase in the number of urban jobs (green, right scale). You can see that the rate of growth is slowing down somewhat, but no decline in the urbanization had set in as of 2010. You can also see that the financial crisis of 2008 did cause a modest slowing in the urbanization process. It may be that the seeming slowdown in the Chinese economy has had a similar effect in 2011/2012, but we won't know for a while.