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Scholar: Chinese rural population may drop to 20 pct of total
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2007-01-08 15:26

A Chinese scholar has predicted that the rural population of China may drop to 20 percent of the total by 2027, and that agriculture will then represent less than 5 percent of GDP.

Dang Guoying, a researcher with the Rural Development Institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the transfer of labor from rural to urban areas is a deep-seated trend, and China should not impede it.

China currently has 1.3 billion people, more than 800 million of whom are farmers, or about 60 percent of the total population.

Statistics show that rural populations have shrunk by 1.6 percent annually in recent years. "If more active urbanization polices are implemented, the rural population will decrease even more quickly," Dang said.

Vice Minister of Construction Chou Baoxing said at an international urbanization forum in Shanghai in November that 50 percent of the Chinese population will live in urban areas by 2010.

Some people worry that there will no longer be enough labor strength in the countryside, with only elderly people, women and children left there.

But Dang said there is no need to worry about transfer of labor from rural areas to urban districts. With the development of modern agricultural technology, elderly people and women can do the work which young men used to have to do. Agricultural output will not decrease despite the loss of many male laborers, he said.

As laborers move to urban districts, the income of the farmers left in rural areas will increase, Dang said.

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