According to the "Report on economic and social development between the 16th and 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China VII: Urban socio-economic development in harmony," issued by National Bureau of Statistics on September 26, there were a total of 661 cities in China in 2006. There is a gross urban population of 577 million people, accounting for 43.9 percent of the country's total population.
Level of urbanization continuously improving
The urbanization ratio in eastern, central and western China was 54.6 percent, 40.4 percent, and 35.7 percent.
With the accelerated pace of industrialization, China's level of urbanization also rose. In 2006, the gross urban population was 577.1 million people, accounting for 43.9 percent of country's total population. The level of urbanization was 4.8 percentage points higher than in 2002. In regional terms, the urbanization ratio of the eastern, central and western China was 54.6 percent, 40.4 percent and 35.7 percent in 2006. From a regional perspective, Shanghai had the highest urbanization level, with a ratio of 88.7 percent, followed by Beijing and Tianjin at 84.3 percent and 75.7 percent.
In 2006, China had a total of 661 cities, including 287 cities at prefecture level or above – eight more than there were in 2002. The GDP of the cities at prefecture level or above (counties under city administration excluded) increased from 6.4 trillion yuan in 2002 to 13.2 trillion yuan in 2006 - increasing 1.1 times. The proportion to the country's total GDP also rose from 53.4 percent in 2002 to 63.2 percent in 2006. A total of 30 cities reported a GDP over 100 billion yuan – 18 more than in 2002. Of these 30, 12 cities reported a GDP greater than 200 billion yuan. Local revenue of cities at prefecture level or above (counties under city administration excluded), in 2006, reached 1.1 trillion yuan, an increase of 1.1 times over 2002; and accounts for 59.3 percent of the country's total local revenue.
City clusters leading development
In addition to the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, and Bohai Sea region, another eight city clusters have sprung up.
A system of urban development gradually takes shape. Apart from the city clusters in the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta, and the Bohai Sea region, China has witnessed the establishment of eight new city clusters in the delta areas of Xiamen, Quanzhou, Zhangzhou and southern Fujian Province, Shandong Peninsula, southern and central Liaoning Province, central China, the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, the west side of the Taiwan Gulf, Sichuan and Chongqing, and central Shaanxi Province.
In 2006 the GDP of the Bohai Sea region, the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta (including counties under administration of cities) reached 7.8 trillion yuan, accounting for 37.4 percent of China's total GDP. The GDP of city clusters at the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, and Bohai Sea region reached 3.96 trillion yuan, 2.2 trillion yuan, and 1.7 trillion yuan – accounting for 18.9 percent, 10.3 percent and 8.2 percent of the country's total. The per capital GDP of the three (including counties under administration of cities) were 37,819 yuan, 49,093 yuan and 32,036 yuan – significantly higher than the national average.
Green environment gradually forming
The rate of green space coverage has reached 35.1 percent. There are 6.8 square meters of green space per capita.
In late 2006, the area of green space and parks in cities at prefecture level or above (counties under administration of cities excluded) totaled 250,000 hectares. Per capita green space exceeded 6.8 square meters. Newly constructed urban green spaces spanned 920,000 hectares; and increased by 321,000 hectares. The coverage rate of green space reached 35.1 percent, up 4.7 percentage points. By the end of 2006, 45 cities were granted the title of "national garden city" by the Ministry of Construction.
Of the 559 cities under the monitoring of the State Environmental Protection Administration, 24 met grade one air quality standards (4.3 percent); 325 met grade two standards (58.1 percent); 160 met grade three standard (28.6 percent); and 50 were below grade three standards (9.0 percent). At of the end of 2006, China identified 60 national environmental model cities, and five national environmental protection model districts. Thirteen cities were awarded "Human Habitat Environment Prizes" issued by the State Environmental Protection Administration.
New cities growing in harmony
Endowment, medical and unemployment insurance have reached 129.3 million, 140.5 million and 103.5 million people.
In the last five years, Chinese cities have established and improved a social insurance system covering both cities and the countryside in accordance with scientific development. In 2006, endowment insurance reached 129 million people in cities at prefecture level or above (including counties under administration of cities). Retirement insurance has reached 129.3 million people; basic medical insurance reached 140.5 million; unemployment insurance reached 103.5 million – an increase of 4.8, 5.8 and 0.9 percentage points over 2002.
Cities' social and public service functions have been further enhanced. In 2006, cities at prefecture level or above (counties under administration of cities excluded) had a total of 20,902 hospitals with 1.8 million beds, an increase of 170,000 over 2002. The number of doctors reached 960,000; and increased by 130,000. There were 8,232 social welfare institutes (up 8.9 percent) with 590,000 beds (up 53.5 percent).
Urban residents lead more colorful spiritual and cultural lives. In 2006, cities at prefecture level or above (counties under administration of cities excluded), had a total of 2,322 theaters and 379 million books in public libraries. The quantity of library books per capita increased from 0.90 in 2002 to 1.03 in 2006. There were 30,000 athletics facilities.
(People's Daily September 30, 2007)