China's Urban Migration Plan Forces Tough Decisions on Families

Obstacles are beginning to emerge in China's massive urbanization plan, which will see 250 million farmers migrate from rural settings to urban population centers over the next decade. 

What's the Latest Development?

Obstacles are beginning to emerge in China's massive urbanization plan, which will see 250 million farmers migrate from rural settings to urban population centers over the next decade. In order to limit the number of megacities, government planners are creating smaller townships which will draw in regional farmers. "The process is known as chengzhenhua, moving into towns, and has become one of the most-debated topics in China. The idea is to limit the number of megacities by keeping farmers closer to the land they farmed instead of moving them to giant cities. The problem is jobs, or the lack of them, in these areas."

What's the Big Idea?

China's urbanization program carries with it broad economic targets to build domestic consumer demand, similar to the development that occurred in the US during the 1950s. A large part of that demand will come from real estate purchases, assisted through zero-interest government loans. Still, such purchases forces families to make painful choices. Lin Jiaqing, a farmer who moved to Qiyan two years, said: "Our daughter was doing well at high school, but when we had to buy this apartment, she knew we couldn't afford to send her to college." The daughter has since dropped out of high school and is working as a clerk at a travel agency.

Photo credit:

Read it at the New York Times

Related Articles

Why Japan's hikikomori isolate themselves from others for years

These modern-day hermits can sometimes spend decades without ever leaving their apartments.

700,000 Japanese people are thought to be hikikomori, modern-day hermits who never leave their apartments (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images).
Mind & Brain
  • A hikikomori is a type of person in Japan who locks themselves away in their bedrooms, sometimes for years.
  • This is a relatively new phenomenon in Japan, likely due to rigid social customs and high expectations for academic and business success.
  • Many believe hikikomori to be a result of how Japan interprets and handles mental health issues.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists discover what caused the worst mass extinction ever

How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.

Credit: Ron Miller
Surprising Science

While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.

Keep reading Show less

Why we're so self-critical of ourselves after meeting someone new

A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.

New acquaintances probably like you more than you think. (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)
Surprising Science

We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.

Keep reading Show less